Obama says cap-and-trade, energy bills may be split up – report

"We may be able to separate these things out. And it's conceivable that that's where the Senate ends up," he continued, according to Reuters. The House in June approved a sweeping bill that combined cap-and-trade with a suite of energy measures.

A White House spokesman said in the account that Obama still supports moving climate and energy legislation as one package.

Obama’s State of the Union speech called for a “comprehensive” energy and climate bill, and a White House official last month said the administration isn't backing away from this approach.

But centrist Democrats wary of cap-and-trade – such as Sens. Blanche Lincoln (Ark.) and Byron Dorgan (N.D.) – have pushed for the Senate to take up energy legislation the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee approved in June, while shelving the emissions caps.

That broad bill includes new renewable energy requirements, expanded federal financing for low-carbon energy technologies, new Gulf of Mexico oil-and-gas drilling and energy efficiency programs, but no limits on greenhouse gases.