It wasn’t really news to those of us who ply the halls of the U.S. Capitol, but it still was a stinging admission for Senate Democrats, that a Cap and Trade/Climate Change bill is officially dead this year.
“For me, it’s terribly disappointing,” said Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, who tried unsuccessfully to convince reporters for weeks that Democrats could stitch together 60 votes to stop any filibuster.
“Unfortunately at this time, we don’t have a single Republican to work with,” Reid added.
“You gotta reach 60 votes,” said Sen. John Kerry. “And to reach 60 votes, you got to have some Republicans.”
But it wasn’t just Republicans who were reluctant to get on board, as Democrats were also having trouble with some of their own members, who weren’t thrilled with some of the details of a major climate change bill.
Democrats had hoped to come up with a “Cap and Trade lite” measure, but months of negotiations failed to produce a breakthrough that interested GOP Senators.
So, after a meeting of Senate Democrats on Thursday afternoon, Reid and Kerry tried to salvage something positive, saying the Senate would move ahead with work on a more limited energy bill, focusing on a response to the oil spill and the Gulf of Mexico and energy efficiency measures for homes.
Not exactly a Cap and Trade bill.
It was just over a year ago, at the end of June, when the House narrowly approved a Cap and Trade measure, a 219-212 outcome that caught many by surprise.
Speaker Nancy Pelosi said she had no regrets about expending the political capital needed to get that controversial measure approved.
“We staked out a bold position,” Pelosi told reporters on Thursday. “We are very proud of it.”
But the bill floundered as soon as it reached the Senate, and yesterday it officially went down the drain.