Watching Government: Beyond blackouts

A blame game based around the Aug. 14 blackout that crippled the US Northeast and parts of eastern Canada could delay—but probably not derail—the passing of an energy bill by this fall. The US Congress returns next month, with power outage-related hearings, task forces, and studies now crammed into an already ambitious legislative calendar.But leaders of the Republican-controlled legislature say they are optimistic about sending President George W. Bush an energy bill to sign by late November. Democrats also profess a desire to pass a bill that does more than simply encourage better transmission grids.Powerless bill?There is, however, at least one influential House Democrat wh...

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