Senate Democrats have announced that they won't be debating a major climate bill until sometime in the spring. The delay, which reduces America's bargaining power at next month's Copenhagen conference, reflects weakening support for the controversial "cap-and-trade" bill as unemployment remains high, the Wall Street Journal notes. The bill strategy calls for capping overall greenhouse-gas emissions, but would allow companies to buy and trade permits allowing certain amounts of emissions.
President Obama is working with Senate leaders to get the bill through as quickly as possible, said a White House spokesman. The delay, however, has raised fears that the Senate may end up putting off debating the bill for as long as 2011 to avoid holding a vote just before next year's midterm elections. "There would be nothing better than for us to talk about over the summer than Democrats pushing a huge new energy tax,” one Republican leadership aide told The Hill.