Well, as expected, the Boxer-Lieberman-Warner cap-and-trade bill quietly died in the Senate this morning after not getting the 60 votes needed to squeak past a Republican filibuster.

Boxer's office sent out an e-mail earlier noting that six senators who weren't present on the floor wrote letters saying they would have voted to invoke cloture—Obama, Clinton, McCain, Kennedy, Biden, Coleman. Technically, I suppose, that makes 54 votes in favor of moving to the amendment stage. Granted, not all of those senators would've voted for the final bill—McCain, for one, said he would oppose it unless more handouts for the nuclear industry were added. Still, it's a step forward from 2005, when the McCain-Lieberman climate bill only garnered 38 votes, and it's not totally unrealistic to think a cap-and-trade bill could pass next year. Whether it's a effective cap-and-trade bill, of course, will depend on who's sitting in the White House.

--Bradford Plumer