By Sam Youngman - 06/17/10 08:53 PM EDT
Vice President Joe Biden said Thursday he thinks the Senate will pass an energy bill this year "that's real."
When asked what the outlook was for getting an energy bill, one with carbon cap-and-trade included, the vice president deadpanned: "Excellent."
Still, Biden acknowledged that it will be difficult to get a bill out of the Senate. Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.), who has accused the White House of using the Gulf of Mexico oil spill to pass a "national energy tax," has declared cap-and-trade dead in the Senate.
"It's going to be difficult. It's going to be hard," Biden said. "The House has already passed a really good bill.
"I used to joke when I was a senator, and some of you who covered the Senate remember these kind of phrases. I used to say, you know, 'say it's going to happen; this is going to pass,'" Biden said. "'Well, how do you know?' And I say, 'I don't know, but I'll tell you when the horses smell the water.'"
Biden said there is a "clear consensus" on Capitol Hill that "they've got to do something to deal with the amount of carbon that we emit into the air and the amount of oil we consume from abroad."
"And so based on the fact the House has already acted and there are serious people like John Kerry and others working on coming up with a Senate bill, I believe that there is a clear possibility we'll get a solid bill," Biden said. "But beyond putting odds on it, it's just — it's just very hard to do right now."