Democrats Delay Beleaguered Energy Bill

Democrats Delay Beleaguered Energy Bill

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Senate Democrats put off a vote on a watered-down energy bill until September in the latest twist in their attempt to pass a key part of President Barack Obama's agenda.

The beleagured energy bill received a significant haircut in the few weeks since the Democrats abandoned more aggressive legislation that would have implemented a greenhouse gas cap-and-trade program and instituted a renewable energy standard.

The pared-down version delayed on Tuesday mostly focused on raising the $75 million liability cap for oil spills in the wake of the BO oil, in addition to measures promoting energy efficiency and incentives for natural gas as a transportation fuel. It lacked hard targets for emissions reduction targets.

Yet even the modest bill failed again to attract unanimous Democratic support or a handful of Republican votes. Sens. Mary Landrieu (D-La.) and Mark Begich (D-Alaska) opposed the elimination of the $75 million liability cap, Politico reported.

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid postponed a vote on the bill until after the Senate's August recess, which begins later this week.

The House of Representatives narrowly passed a climate change bill last summer aimed at reducing emissions in the U.S. by 17 percent below 2005 levels by 2020. A handful of subsequent bills introduced in the Senate stalled.

The bill's latest setback comes as recent polls suggest the public favors legislation curbing greenhouse gas emissions. The Society for Human Resource Management/National Journal Congressional Connection Poll, conducted with the Pew Research Center, found that 65 percent of respondents prefer emissions limits.

A month earlier, a Congressional Connection poll found 66 percent favored emissions limits.

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