Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) said Monday that cap-and-trade energy legislation is "dead" in the upper chamber.
The Senate's top Republican spoke before a local chamber of commerce in eastern Kentucky.
The Senate failed to reach an agreement on a comprehensive energy bill that included caps on greenhouse gases earlier this year after Democrats failed to garner enough support in the face of widespread Republican opposition.
Even though that led many to believe the plan had met its demise, McConnell's comments represent a bold pronouncement from a top lawmaker as members gear up for the midterm elections.
The cap-and-trade plan is one of several significant pieces of legislation passed by the House during this Congress on which the Senate failed to reach agreement.
Republicans have railed against a cap-and-trade plan, saying it would stymie the economy and job creation at a time when it has struggled to emerge from the recession. Democratic leaders have said it is a key measure to help reverse the effects of global warming.
McConnell warned the audience that the Obama administration could attempt to mandate some cap-and-trade policies through the executive branch, but said that was unlikely in an election year.
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) sought to bring to the floor a smaller energy bill and legislation addressing the BP oil spill, which occurred in April. But the Senate has not yet been able to debate either on the floor.
But Democrats have disagreed about several key provisions in the legislation, and Republicans have refused to sign on to Democratic bills, putting forth their own proposals instead.