>The climate bill has died, the blame game has begun, and the back-up plan is ready for deployment. Since March, the EPA has had greenhouse gas regulations scheduled to take effect in January of 2011. The plan was always that Congress would by then have passed an energy package that preempted the regulations, eliminating the need for messy bureaucratic measures beloved by neither party. Some Democrats are still spouting hopes of passing a bill during the lame-duck session in the fall, but with only 59 Democrat votes, this strategy is a stretch of the imagination. Congress and industry alike are now trying to comprehend the pending reality of an EPA crackdown on emissions.
Sen. Lisa Murkowski's bid to block the regulations failed, but Republicans and moderate Democrats are holding out hope for a modified version of her resolution to hit the Senate floor. West Virginia Sen. Jay Rockefeller, a Democrat, has proposed suspending the EPA's greenhouse gas regulations for two years. Majority Leader Harry Reid has not yet announced whether he will take up Rockefeller's amendment before the end of the year. He will face pressure to do so from within his own caucus, as several moderate Democrats voted against Murkowski's resolution because they were promised a later vote on Rockefeller's toned-down version.