Pelosi backs off cap-and-trade ultimatum

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) softened her demand Thursday that committee chairmen finish work by June 19 on her signature cap-and-trade bill.

"That's not a hard deadline, it's a goal," Pelosi said. "If they're making progress and moving forward" they could get more time, she added.

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The statements backed off an ultimatum Pelosi issued Wednesday to her committee chairmen to move climate change legislation by June 19 or risk losing jurisdiction over the bill.

The cap-and-trade legislation passed the House Energy and Commerce Committee before the Memorial Day break. But numerous other committees have jurisdiction.

Leadership aides confirmed the June 19 deadline.

House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Charles Rangel (D-N.Y.) had bristled at the deadline, complaining that he needed more time, and still saw healthcare as his priority.

House Agriculture Committee Chairman Collin Peterson (D-Minn.) had threatened to block the bill if his committee didn't get a chance to vote on it. But he has since backed down somewhat, saying he wants to change the bill, not stop it.