From The Hill:
From Greenwire via the New York Times:
The House may not vote on a climate change bill this year, according to a high-ranking Democratic leader.Rep. Chris Van Hollen (D-Md.) told The Hill on Monday that leaders could opt not to bring a climate measure to the floor if the bill has little chance of passing the Senate.
Democrats, including Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.), had previously indicated they would pass a climate bill through the House by the August congressional recess.
The competing allegiances of Van Hollen — charged with leading Democrats into what is arguably their most challenging election cycle since 1994 and serving as a policy hand to Pelosi — were on display during his interview with The Hill.
Van Hollen, 50, became the highest-ranking House Democrat to say that even if an agreement is reached, the House may not vote on a cap-and-trade bill if the bill appears to have little hope of clearing the upper chamber.
“The first thing we need to do is see whether we can come together around a consensus position in the committees in the House, and that’s what we’re working on. And then, of course, if we were able to arrive at that, the question is whether you would take it to the floor, or do you wait to see if anything develops on the Senate side,” Van Hollen said.
“The chances of doing cap-and-trade in the Senate are much more difficult. We recognize that,” he added.For a Democratic Caucus that has made the enactment of climate change legislation one of its highest priorities — Pelosi has called climate change the issue of her generation — the admission from a Democratic leader that the House may not vote on a long-awaited but controversial cap-and-trade bill this year is significant....MORE
House Democrats 'moving ahead' on climate bill, majority leader says
Update--from Environmental Capital:
House Democrats will not abandon plans to pass global warming and energy legislation this year despite concerns that similar proposals may fail to win the 60 votes needed for Senate approval, Majority Leader Steny Hoyer said today.
"I think we're moving on parallel tracks," the Maryland Democrat told reporters during his weekly briefing in the Capitol. "I don't want to imply that we're waiting for the Senate to act, because that would not be accurate."
He added, "We're moving ahead. We're trying to address this issue. It's a priority for the president. It's a priority for the speaker."...
...But another House Democratic leader raised the prospect this week of delaying floor action because of the Senate's obvious difficulty in moving legislation.
"The first thing we need to do is see whether we can come together around a consensus position in the committees in the House, and that's what we're working on," Rep. Chris Van Hollen of Maryland, who leads House Democrats' 2010 campaign operations, told The Hill newspaper in remarks published today. "And then, of course, if we were about to arrive at that, the question is whether you would take it to the floor, or do you wait to see if anything develops on the Senate side?"
"The chances of doing cap and trade in the Senate are much more difficult," Van Hollen added. "We recognize that."
Van Hollen's read on the Senate vote count mirrors comments from Senate Majority Whip Dick Durbin of Illinois earlier this month. Durbin said Democrats do not have 60 votes on global warming legislation, an acknowledgment of opposition from both Republicans and more than a dozen of his own moderate and conservative Democrats....
Specter: What Will Pa. Senator’s Defection Mean for Climate Legislation?Now that Pennsylvania Sen. Arlen Specter has switched parties, Democrats can almost taste the filibuster-proof 60-seat majority in the Senate, pending (still) Al Franken’s eventual victory in Minnesota.
Getting 60 votes is crucial for all sorts of big-ticket legislation—especially climate change. But Sen. Specter’s support won’t come free.
Hailing from a coal-rich manufacturing state, Sen. Specter is especially sensitive to two issues when it comes to energy and environmental policy: American jobs and the future of coal.
Both in his own efforts—he co-sponsored climate-change legislation in 2007—and in dealing with others’, he’s made clear that his support is contingent on taking care of the folks back home, understandably enough. But that’s not necessarily what environmentalists—or many in the Democratic party – want to hear. Granted, that tune might change, if he faces the prospect of winning over Democratic voters in 2010—but it’s what he’s been dancing to so far.