A bill forbidding U.S. companies from participating in the European Union’s Emissions Trading Scheme has hit another snag.
After some last-minute alterations were enough to overcome a pair of Democratic holds and get the bill through the Senate last week, some House of Representatives Democrats have objected to those changes, meaning it cannot be fast-tracked before the November elections in pro forma sessions, despite its broad congressional support.
Senior aides in both parties acknowledge the Democratic concerns - but each is quick to blame the other side of the aisle, a common theme in the weeks before an election. Democrats wrapped the stalled legislation into their complaints that GOP top brass have left Washington's work unfinished.
"We have members on both sides of this issue. If the Republican leadership really cared about this bill they could have moved it under a rule instead of going home to campaign," said a senior Democratic aide.
Noting that some environmental groups have signed off on the changes, a Republican aide said that "if it's OK by them, but still not good enough for House Democrats, one has to wonder what would be good enough for those guys."
While most senators and House members are back home campaigning, both chambers are meeting several times a week in the short pro forma sessions to prevent recess appointments by President Barack Obama.
"We would have tried to pass that bill as well but Democrats objected," the Republican aide said of the EU bill in the pro forma sessions. The House passed a similar version last year, but the Senate's changes mean it must be reapproved by the lower chamber.
The measure, led through the Senate by Sens. John Thune (R-S.D.) and Claire McCaskill (D-Mo.), enjoys wide support in both chambers and would easily pass under a rule that would require only a majority vote. But in pro forma sessions, any lawmaker can object to a bill's passage.