Senate climate bill in peril as Democrats delay action

Fri Jul 23, 2010 8:47am EDT
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By Timothy Gardner and Thomas Ferraro

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The U.S. Senate on Thursday dealt a potentially fatal blow to President Barack Obama's push to curb greenhouse gas emissions, postponing its bid to pass broad legislation to combat climate change.

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid said he plans to bring up a narrower energy bill next week that would revamp offshore oil drilling rules in the wake of the BP oil spill.

But he will put off consideration of broader legislation sought by Obama until September at the earliest.

The delay means that Obama's fellow Democrats, who control Congress, have little time to advance the complex legislation amid intense political pressure in the weeks before November congressional elections.

It also could derail global climate change initiatives, as the world's major economies and greenhouse gas emitters insist the United States play a leading role.

"Unfortunately at this time we don't have a single Republican on board," Reid told reporters.

Democrats said they hope to pass the scaled-back bill before leaving town for an August congressional recess.

Some Democrats aimed to attach climate legislation to that bill with the hope of attracting Republican support.   Continued...

<p>Senator John Kerry speaks with financier T. Boone Pickens at the Capitol, May 19, 2010. REUTERS/Joshua Roberts</p>