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Reid Indicates Climate Vote Could Wait Until 2010

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) on Tuesday signaled that he may be willing to push back a vote on a climate bill until 2010.

“So, you know, we are going to have a busy, busy time the rest of this year,” Reid told reporters. “And, of course, nothing terminates at the end of this year. We still have next year to complete things if we have to.”

Reid noted that the Senate is likely to be occupied with health care reform for much of the fall. He did not rule out moving the energy bill that was passed out of committee back in June separate from a cap-and-trade plan, though he doesn’t seem particularly enthusiastic about the idea.

“That was an initial discussion that we had many, many months ago. … We’ve focused on what the House has done, and that is do it all in one package,” he said. “That’s a bridge that’s still a long ways away.”

Reid’s spokesman Jim Manley told The Wall Street Journal, however, that he is “a long way from making a decision” about voting on climate legislation this year. Reid “still intends to take health care reform, [financial] regulatory reform and cap-and-trade to the Senate floor by the end of the year.”

In any case, Reid’s remarks today are less optimistic than the statement he put out a few weeks ago, when his office maintained that “Senator Reid fully expects the Senate to have ample time to consider this comprehensive clean energy and climate legislation before the end of the year.”

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