Senator Reid Searches for Consensus on Stalled Climate Bill
Instead of introducing a Senate version of the climate bill on Tuesday, July 20, as many expected, Majority Leader Harry Reid scheduled a meeting on Thursday to try to reach a consensus within his party regarding the legislation. The introduction of the climate bill now seems uncertain, with the August recess less than three weeks away and the specter of November elections looming over the Democratic Party.
Reid would like to introduce a comprehensive climate bill that boosts alternative energy, imposes tighter controls on offshore oil drilling, and reduces the emissions that cause global warming. The bill proposes capping such emissions from utility companies, but the power company group Edison Electric Institute has asked for more time to negotiate this portion of the legislation. There is pressure in the wake of the BP disaster, however, to immediately pass a law reforming offshore oil drilling.
Reid is still trying to assess Democrats' feelings on the timing and content of the climate bill, and he is also hoping to gain the support of up to three Republicans. Even if the Senate does pass the climate bill, it will need to be reconciled with the version passed by the House of Representatives before it can be signed into law.