Key Republican: No time for ‘significant’ energy bill this year

The clock’s run out on the chances for a “significant” energy and climate bill this year, a key GOP senator said Tuesday.

With the August recess and November’s midterm elections quickly approaching, there isn’t going to be any political will to tackle a major energy bill, Sen. George Voinvovich (R-Ohio) said.

“Anyone who’s been in the Senate any period of time knows there’s no way an energy bill gets done” before the election or year’s end, Voinovich told reporters at the Capitol.

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) was set to outline elements of an energy bill during a meeting with Senate Democrats on Tuesday, though not an actual bill. With an impasse over unemployment benefits and financial reform behind them, Democrats are now able to pivot to other legislative priorities.

But anything beyond basic legislation to tackle the oil spill or other consensus issues may be a stretch, the Environment and Public Works Committee member asserted.

“Even under the best of circumstances, there’s not the timing to get this done,” he said. “I don’t think we have the time to do anything significant.”