Senate Democrats abandon comprehensive climate bill
Conceding they can’t find enough votes for the measure, Senate Democrats on Thursday abandoned efforts to put together a comprehensive energy bill that would seek to limit greenhouse gas emissions, delivering a potentially fatal blow to a proposal Democrats have long touted and President Obama campaigned on.
Instead, Democrats will push for a more limited bill that would seek to increase liability costs that oil companies would pay following spills such as the one in the Gulf of Mexico and would create additional incentives for the development of natural gas vehicles and provide rebates to people who buy products that reduce home energy use. They did not release details of the proposal, but Senate Democrats said they expected to find GOP support and pass it in the next two weeks.
Democrats have not ruled out pushing for a more comprehensive bill when Congress returns from its August recess or in the session after the November elections, although it’s not clear that any of the Democrats or Republicans who now oppose a more expansive measure would change their votes. Republicans have long argued the bill, by seeking to limit emissions, would lead to higher energy costs for American consumers, a view some conservative Democrats have also taken.
The decision to abandon the proposal was another concession to the difficult political environment Democratic leaders face, as many rank-and-file congressional Democrats are wary of casting any vote that could be used in political attacks by Republicans.