What kind of energy/climate bill might we get?

WHAT KIND OF ENERGY/CLIMATE BILL MIGHT WE GET?…. Roll Call reports today that President Obama and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) “say that this time they are committed, really committed, to bringing some sort of clean energy bill to the floor this year.” A Senate Democratic aide said the effort has “fresh momentum,” thanks in part to the White House’s renewed sense of urgency about finishing a bill this year.

“He’s really doubling down on this,” the aide said of Obama.

Not surprisingly, the BP oil spill disaster is fueling (so to speak) the renewed push, and Dems aren’t hiding the fact that they hope to capitalize on the disaster to get something important done.

The next question, then, is what kind of legislation we can expect to see. Reid’s office told relevant committee chairs late last week to have proposals in place by July 4. And what of the American Power Act, crafted by Sens. Kerry, Lieberman, and Graham? It appears to be in deep trouble.

A proposed measure to address climate change is likely to be offered as an amendment to an energy bill Democrats have drafted in the Senate, Sen. Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.) said Monday.

Schumer offered details of an energy and climate change bill that Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) has said he plans to move in July.

So, instead of moving forward with the American Power Act blueprint, the Senate will likely advance a very different bill, with Kerry’s package offered as an amendment.

Schumer’s comments suggests Senate Dems aren’t exactly swinging for the fences — instead of seizing the opportunity and pushing an ambitious proposal, the new bill will apparently downplay efforts to combat climate change, and not include the cap-and-trade provision that has been at the heart of Democratic plans.

In effect, if Schumer’s assessment is correct, Democrats will pursue a bill on energy policy — new industry regulations, nuclear permits, some alternative energy investments — not climate policy.

The legislation, then, will be anything but comprehensive. And barring an electoral miracle in November, cap-and-trade won’t even be considered in Congress again until 2013, at the very earliest.

The oil spill crisis was enough to capture the nation’s attention, but it wasn’t enough to generate 60 votes for a modest, common-sense climate bill.

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Steve Benen

Steve Benen is a producer at MSNBC's The Rachel Maddow Show. He was the principal contributor to the Washington Monthly's Political Animal blog from August 2008 until January 2012.