The Senate lacks the votes to pass "cap and trade" climate change legislation as a standalone bill or as an amendment to an energy bill after recess, Sen. Robert Bennett (R-Utah) claimed Friday.

"Right now, my reading is that there are not the votes in the Senate to pass a cap and trade bill," Bennett said in a conference call with Utah reporters.

Bennett asserted that Sen. Barbara BoxerBarbara BoxerFeinstein to hold campaign fundraisers, a hint she'll run again Becerra formally nominated for Calif. attorney general 10 freshmen to watch in the new Congress MORE's (D-Calif.) hoped deadline to pass a preliminary climate change bill by this fall could "easily slip" until the winter.

Bennett credited Boxer's concerns over the vote tally for the delay in the bill.

"I think that's why Sen. Boxer decided to delay introducing her bill -- because she wanted more time to lobby for more support," he said.

He also said the cap and trade bill could be attached to energy legislation after recess.

"There are some people who are saying we should put a cap and trade amendment on the energy bill, and thereby have the cap and trade debate in that context," he explained.