By Michael O'Brien - 07/09/09 03:19 PM EDT
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 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 (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."