Harry Reid has decided to put sweeping climate change legislation on the back burner, and instead bring a more limited package of oil spill response measures to the floor next week, senior Democratic aides tell the Hill. Aides insist that Reid hasn’t given up on passing the legislation this year. But with the Senate's schedule currently packed, it’s going to have to wait until after the August recess at least.
The smaller package will include things like tougher oil rig safety requirements, and a few energy policies on which there is bipartisan consensus. As for the bigger cap-and-trade bill, “the chances of this bill [passing] are very tough right now,” said John Kerry, who helped create the plan, saying that lawmaker trepidation might scuttle it entirely. “We need to take the fear out of this,” he said. (Read more climate change legislation stories.)