At least half a dozen Senate Democrats have asked the White House to back off on its push for cap-and-trade climate legislation, afraid another bruising partisan battle like health care could wreck their 2010 reelection prospects. “Climate change in an election year has very poor prospects,” says Kent Conrad. “I’ve told that to the leadership.” Others, including Ben Nelson, Evan Bayh, and Mary Landrieu, tell Politico they want to wait until the economy improves.
“I am communicating that in every way I know how,” says Landrieu of the not-now push. Some want to do an energy bill, just not one that includes cap-and-trade. But others say they’re inextricable. “We’ve got to keep them together, because they go together,” says Joe Lieberman, who’s working with John Kerry and Lindsey Graham on the bill.