So much to do and so little time. As midterms loom, lawmakers see major pieces of legislation unfinished and a limited widow to finish them. Will this time crunch result in a climate bill being the odd bill out?

This topic came up towards the end MSNBC’s The Daily Rundown on Monday morning. The discussion comes up at 3:10 in the video below, but I summerize it in this post.


“What the heck is going on?” asked co-host Savannah Guthrie. Are they serious in congress about doing something about energy or is this just trying to appease voters and the base.”

The New York Times’ David Herszenhorn responded that something is likely to get done. “It would be almost suicidal not to address the energy issue, but this is the bottleneck in the senate,” he said.

Herszenhorn said Democratic leader Harry Reid wants to get a bill on the floor, and that there is much frustration coming from Congress' lower chamber. “Democrats in the house have been angry since they took a really hard vote on an energy bill last year.” He added, “all eyes are now on the senate…if they touch cap and trade, the Republicans may go ballistic and you may not see anything happen.”

The show's other guest, NBC’s Ken Strickland, responded that if anything is to get done it will be so called, “low hanging fruit,” like incentives for renewables and a moderate price on carbon.

But Herszenhorn seemed to think any action beyond responding to the oil spill was in jeopardy of falling victim to time. “The longer the clock ticks it’s a victory for Mitch McConnell for simply running it out,” he said.

Compounding Captain McConnell’s crunch is a sea of hot-button issues. The war supplemental budget, financial reform, Elana Kagan’s nomination, and extending unemployment checks could each become time gobblers that would push a climate bill out. 

Already there are mixed signals. One reporter says the senate’s return this week seems to be with a “curious lack of focus.” On the other hand, the Senate’s Energy and Natural Resources Committee added a business meeting to Thursday’s schedule. The agenda: to consider “pending pieces of legislation.” 

More to come.