Sadly, not all those who left the Senate for the 2009 summer recess will return Sept. 8, but nevertheless, the Senate will return and they have their work cut out for them.

Soon after their arrival, debate on HR 2454 American Clean Energy and Security Acts of 2009 will continue. Narrowly passed in the House, HR 2454 lost a strong supporter with the death of Sen. Edward “Ted” Kennedy, D-Mass.

A special election for his seat must be held within the next 145 to 160 days, but the Senate is not going to delay its schedule to fill the empty seat.

Operating now with 99 Senators, as opposed to 100, doesn’t sound like much of a deficit for the upcoming climate bill; however, the voting margins are so tight; it is possible that the one vote lost could defeat the bill.

According to, as of the end of August, there were approximately 33 likely supporters, 28 likely opponents, and 38 undecided/unknowns.

The Senate needs 51 votes to pass the legislation and they are feeling the pressure from the House and the Obama Administration.

This is where Carol Browner - officially known as the assistant to the President for energy and climate change and popularly known as the White House climate czar - comes into play.

According to Newsweek, “She’s the go-to arm twister: the person who wooed House members and counted votes to narrowly pass the climate-change bill on June 26 in the House, 219 to 212.”

The fate of HR 2454 is still unknown, but with Kennedy gone, its destiny is a little cloudier.