WASHINGTON — Senate Republicans on Friday blocked a vote on legislation that would cut greenhouse gas emissions across the U.S. economy, prompting the chamber's leaders to pull back the bill.
Supporters said they would keep working to get a stronger bill ready for the next president.
The focus on climate now turns to the presidential election. Supporters said they were confident that the next president — Republican John McCain or Democrat Barack Obama — would push to get mandatory emissions controls in place.
Obama and McCain say global warming is an urgent problem, and both support some form of plan to cut U.S. emissions and set up a market to trade pollution permits. The two senators said Friday that they would have voted with the bill's supporters if they had been at the capitol.
McCain said the bill needed to be debated and improved. The most important change, he said in a statement, would be to include provisions that would benefit nuclear power.
Obama said the bill needed to be strengthened from a 66 percent reduction in emissions by 2050 to an 80 percent cut since that's what scientists warn is needed. He also called for more help for middle-class Americans and more resources for regions that "will bear the brunt of this critical transition to a clean energy economy."