President Obama didn’t give much direction on this front in his address last night, but the White House has apparently told Senate Democrats to gear up for a July fight over energy legislation.
Phil Schiliro, the White House congressional liaison, has told the Senate to aim to take up an energy bill the week of July 12, after the July 4 break (and after the scheduled final passage of Wall Street reform). Kagan confirmation will follow, ahead of the summer break, scheduled to begin Aug. 9. The plan is to conference the new Senate bill with the already-passed House bill IN A LAME-DUCK SESSION AFTER THE ELECTION, so House members don’t have to take another tough vote ahead of midterms.
Of course, the biggest question remains whether this will include a cap on carbon dioxide, in addition to energy and oil-spill specific measures. I don’t think we know much more about that from Obama’s speech last night, in which the president studiously avoided the terms “carbon” and “climate change.” I think that may well doom ithe chances of a price on carbon making it into a legislative session this year, but hey, folks have been writing obituaries for the climate bill for months now. Whether there’s any appetite for including a carbon cap and price depends a lot on what the White House leans on the Senate to do in these next few weeks.