I think political analyst Dan Clifton of Strategas, an institutional research firm, has it about right concerning the prospects for a cap-and-trade climate bill passing Congress this year:
We do not believe the cap and trade bill being shepherded through the House Energy and Commerce Committee by Rep. Waxman will be signed into law this year, or even next year. Although the bill is expected to make it through the Energy and Commerce Committee Thursday night, after recess Waxman will begin talks with Ways and Means Chair Rangel, who does not see climate change legislation as a priority and is reportedly not convinced that cap and trade is the best option. We note there are 8 committees with jurisdiction over the bill, including Agriculture, chaired by Rep. Peterson who is insisting on his own mark up and has concerns about the proposal. That being said, with international climate talks slated for through the summer leading up to December’s Copenhagen meeting, it will remain a hot topic through the recess as members defend their positions to voters that in many cases lack clarity on the issue, the costs and the emission permit allocation politics.
Me: For Republicans, this is the ideal scenario. The bill doesn’t pass but it remains alive as an election issue in the 2010 congressional midterm elections. From my conversations with folks over there, it is clear to me that they think it is a HUGE winner for them. And the Dems might not disagree.