Energy Bill: Can Senators Reach Agreement?

"Congress will insist that it wants a free hand in writing a bill, but we've seen in the past that if Congress does write a bill the president loses control of the message, loses control of what it is that he's selling," Levi said. "It makes it more difficult for him to sell it, we saw that in health care and I think the administration won't want to see that happen again."

Snowe today also urged the president to lay the groundwork.

"I urged the president to seize control of our own energy destiny and, for the first time, establish clearly defined national timetables for clean energy production, benchmarks for oil consumption reduction, and goals for game-changing research," she said in a statement.

Reid is planning to bring an energy and climate bill to the floor in July and the White House continues to say it wants to see a bill passed this year, even as its prospects look dim so far.

A sweeping legislation that would put caps on greenhouse gas emissions are expected to cost between $79 and $146 per year for each American household, according to the Environmental Protection Agency. An ABC News/Washington Post poll this month found that Americans were willing to pay the price, with 71 percent supporting the regulation of greenhouse gas emissions.

The United States and China are the largest polluters of carbon dioxide in the world, and the United States has often been chided internationally for not doing enough on the global scale to cap the problem.

Several efforts to enact comprehensive energy legislation that would promote clean energy, reduce the United States' dependence on fossil fuels and foreign oil, and cut down greenhouse gas emissions have failed in the past, dating back to the Nixon administration.

ABC News' Sunlen Miller and Z. Byron Wolf contributed to this report.

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