- The Washington Times - Tuesday, September 1, 2009

The once-delayed climate change legislation has been postponed again, spelling trouble for a top item on President Obama’s legislative agenda.

In a brief statement, senior Democratic senators involved in the effort said that a draft bill intended to slow global warming won’t be ready until late September. The legislation had been scheduled for presentation next Tuesday.

The legislation initially was slated to be presented in August.

In June, the House narrowly passed its version of climate legislation. That bill would limit greenhouse gas emissions and established a so-called cap-and-trade regimen that would allow polluters to buy and sell the right to pollute.

The Senate has not acted and its Democratic leaders have said that it would not act until health care reform legislation is finished. Committee work on the climate bill, however, was expected to begin in September. Now that plan appears to be in limbo.

The Senate Environment and Public Works Committee said Monday that it would not unveil its climate change legislation next week as has been expected.

The committee was supposed to introduce the draft of its bill when Congress returned from its monthlong recess. Instead, it plans to introduce the bill “later in September.”

Senate Majority Harry Reid, Nevada Democrat, asked all Senate committees with jurisdiction over climate to complete their bills by Sept. 28 - a deadline that now is unlikely.

Sen. Barbara Boxer, California Democrat and chairman of the environment committee, and Sen. John Kerry, the Massachusetts Democrat who is helping to write the bill, said in a joint statement they are delaying drafting sessions on the bill because of Sen. Edward M. Kennedy’s death, Mr. Kerry’s August hip surgery and delays in health care reform legislation.

“Due to the intensive work on health care legislation, particularly on the Finance Committee where Sen. Kerry serves, Majority Leader Reid has agreed to provide some additional time to work on the final details of our bill and to reach out to colleagues and important stakeholders,” the senators said in a statement.

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