Senate punts 'cap and trade' until after recess

The Senate pushed back consideration of a sweeping climate change bill until after the August recess in Congress.

Senate Environment and Public Works Committee Chairwoman Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.) announced that she'd pushed back her self-imposed deadline to pass cap-and-trade legislation that squeaked through the House in late June.

Boxer said senators would take up the legislation "as soon as we get back" from the August recess, according to Reuters. She said she's "not a bit" worried the Senate will be able to complete and vote on a bill this year, however.

Boxer also acknowledged that the intense focus in the Senate on healthcare has detracted from her ability to craft a climate change bill to complement the House bill.

"A lot of our colleagues are on the health committee," she said. "It's been difficult."

Sen. Jim Inhofe (R-Okla.), the ranking Republican on the committee and a noted global warming skeptic, suggested that it was political opposition, not timing, that spurred the delay.

"There is no question that the American public flatly rejected the House ramming through legislation that would have devastating impacts on American consumers," Inhofe said in a statement. "So with this delay, the public should expect more arm-twisting and backroom deals -- or, in other words, more business as usual in Washington."