McCain on an Energy Bill: Exit ... Stage Left

ABC's Z. Byron Wolf reports: There is a great piece of video to bring your right up to speed on the status in the U.S. Senate of energy and climate change legislation that President Obama called for Tuesday night in his address from the Oval Office.

That is, stalled.

At the end of a press conference on Iran with Sens. Joe Lieberman, I-Conn., and John McCain, R-Ariz., and others, a reporter asked a question on the climate change legislation that President Obama said Tuesday is so vital to national security. McCain, who in past years has sponsored comprehensive cap and trade legislation but no longer supports it, gave a wave, smiled, and walked out of the room without saying a word, leaving Lieberman behind.

Indeed, Democrats and Independent Lieberman, who have a number of proposals on how to need a Republican to sign on to any proposal. Several Republicans have their own energy proposals, but none would put a price on carbon emissions, a component that many Democrats feel is necessary to really wean Americans off oil. Republicans fear that doing so would create a sort of national energy tax.

From 2003 to 2007 McCain, along with Lieberman, sponsored a number of versions the “Climate Stewardship Act,” which would have instituted a cap on carbon emissions.

The most recent version of a cap and trade bill was introduced by Lieberman and Sen. John Kerry, D-Mass. The one Republican they had been courting for months – Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., dropped off the bill in April.

President Obama met today with Sen. Scott Brown, R-Mass., who like most Republicans supports an bill to encourage new forms of energy production, but does not support a cap and trade system, which he calls an energy tax.

Lieberman told reporters that the President would meet next week with a bipartisan group of senators on how best to pursue an energy bill.

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