Senate Dems plan last-minute push on climate and energy bill
Exciting news from Senate Democrats today: They’re going to try one more time for a climate bill. Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) says he’s making one last push to put a cap on greenhouse gas emissions. He’ll do it by combining a cap with offshore drilling safeguards, in hopes that Republicans and skittish Dems will be afraid to vote against the latter.
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) is planning a high-risk, high-stakes strategy for bringing climate and energy legislation to the floor ahead of the August recess.
The gamble: yoking a bipartisan, fast-track measure to overhaul offshore drilling rules with a broad, contentious bill capping greenhouse gas emissions that otherwise would have almost no chance of passage on its own.
Reid’s own Democrats are mixed on the strategy for notching 60 votes. Some argue that public perception of fossil fuels in the wake of the BP oil spill will sway enough of the party’s swing votes and open Republicans to attack if they oppose the measure as their reelection campaigns head into the homestretch.
“Republicans are not supporting virtually anything to transform our energy system,” said Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.). “That’s not what the American people want. So I think you bring forth a strong bill, you rally the American people and I think the Republicans will respond as a result of that.”
Of course, senators are pretty good at finding ways not to act, as several Dems remind Politico. The odds of success here remain slim, with no Senate Republicans showing signs they’re willing to collaborate on the challenge.
Reid made his announcement after a closed-door caucus meeting on Thursday, which left Senate Democrats in an oddly perky mood, with several senators gushing to The Hill about the “thrilling,” “inspirational,” “best caucus” ever. Sounds like they did trust falls or team-building games or brought in a motivational speaker:
Though they seem to lack the votes for a carbon cap, party leaders emphasized the “inspirational” nature of their discussion, attempting to throw some momentum behind legislation that has so far lacked it.
“A number of senators said this was the best caucus they’ve ever attended,” Majority Leader Harry Reid (Nev.) said at a press conference after the meeting. “It was really very, very powerful. It was inspirational, quite frankly.”
Strange. Glad you’re all inspired, guys. You know what would inspire the rest of us? An aggressive climate and energy plan.