>Before heading out for six weeks of recess, the Senate did not even take up two of the biggest issues facing Congress: comprehensive energy legislation and immigration reform. The climate bill got slashed and shrunk and tucked into an oil-spill response that didn't make it to debate, while immigration received a mere nod in the form of a border security re-up bill. With the Senate's cramped schedule in September and hyper-partisan atmosphere leading up to midterms, neither issue will likely be tackled in full this year.
This does not, however, mean that nothing is being done. Behind the legislative scenes, the Obama administration has been filling the gaps on both energy and immigration. The EPA is set to implement a host of new regulations reducing greenhouse gas emissions in January. The specter of EPA regulation has been used as a stick to pressure senators into voting for energy reform -- no one thinks regulation is the best way to cut emissions, but Republicans especially are loathe to agree to more industry red tape -- and everyone seemed a bit surprised when it became clear that the back-up plan was the only plan left. Nevertheless, Obama has vowed to veto any bill that restricts the EPA's ability to regulate carbon.