The prospects of the Senate passing cap-and-trade legislation were already not looking good, and now we have confirmation that the proposal is officially in trouble: Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid just told reporters that the Senate could push back a climate bill until next year. According to E&E News (sub req), Reid says that the Senate needs to pass health care and financial reforms before tackling climate legislation:
"So, you know, we are going to have a busy, busy time the rest of this year," Reid said. "And, of course, nothing terminates at the end of this year. We still have next year to complete things if we have to."
This isn't exactly surprising, but a week ago Reid was maintaining that the Senate could definitely fit cap-and-trade into its schedule by the end of the year. On September 9, his office sent me the following statement: “Senator Reid fully expects the Senate to have ample time to consider this comprehensive clean energy and climate legislation before the end of the year.”
UPDATE: David Corn asks Robert Gibbs at today's White House press briefing if he sees Reid's new position on the bill as a setback. Gibbs insists "we can continue to make progress." But this will make life much harder for the Obama administration when it shows up at UN climate talks in Copenhagen this December without legislation to cut emissions in hand. You can read David's tweets from the briefing, which also covered health care and other matters, here.