Senate delays climate bill until September

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The Senate does not plan to make any serious moves toward approving a climate change bill until September, a month later than its leaders’ previous expectation.

Sen. Barbara Boxer today told reporters that she will not draft a climate change bill in her Environment and Public Works Committee until September, throwing the timetable for action in the chamber into doubt on one of President Obama’s top legislative goals.

According to published reports, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., agreed to move his deadline for Boxer’s and other committees to complete work on a climate change bill to Sept. 28, more than a week later than his original target of Sept. 18. The change came after a meeting Wednesday evening between Reid, Boxer and Carol Browner, Obama’s assistant for energy and climate change, Congressional Quarterly reported. .

Boxer had been expected to push her committee to approve the legislation by Aug. 7, when the Senate leaves on its monthlong August recess.

Boxer told reporters today that “we’ll do it as soon as we get back,” Reuters reported. She attributed the delay to the Democratic push to enact national health care reform. “A lot of our colleagues are on the health committee. It’s been difficult,” Boxer said.

Just yesterday, Senate Finance Committee Chairman Max Baucus, D-Mont., was forced to miss a hearing in his committee on climate change so that he could meet with Reid on the health care bill, leaving Sen. John Kerry, D-Mass., to oversee the testimony.

No comment was immediately available from aides on Boxer’s committee. The panel plans to hold a hearing next week on transportation and climate change.

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