Climate Bill Sent to Senate Floor

By Published On: November 6, 2009

Despite a Republican boycott of the Senate Committee on Environment & Public Works’ mark up of the Clean Energy Jobs & American Power Act for three days this week, the committee sent the bill to the Senate floor November 5. “Advancing the bill is a necessary step to garner 60 votes” required for passage, said committee chair Senator Barbara Boxer (D-CA). Boxer claims that despite a one-party vote for the bill to pass out of the committee, the move is legal. Republicans boycotted the mark up in hopes of blocking a vote. A bipartisan vote is the usual procedure--including “no” votes--to move a bill out of committee. Republicans maintained they are withholding votes because there has not been enough economic analysis of the legislation. In response, Boxer brought in Environmental Protection Agency representatives to explain the agency’s economic analysis. No Republicans showed up to hear the EPA’s explanations of its data gathering and methodology. “You’d think Republicans would show up today to take advantage of the unprecedented opportunity,” Boxer said. She maintains the EPA’s 340,000 pages of documents and analysis should satisfy Republican critics. She told the committee that Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) is expected to ask for another five week analysis before the bill goes to the floor. Senator James Inhofe (R-OK), the ranking Republican on the committee, appeared each morning as the hearings began. He offered letters of support for the Republican’s stance--for instance, from the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. (A number of major members left the Chamber over its opposition to climate legislation, including Pacific Gas & Electric). Inhofe said little, apart from calling the bill “green welfare” at a cost of $300 to $400 billion/year. He left the hearing room after a short cameo appearance. The Senate bill, S. 733, is a match for House legislation that passed in June. It sets greenhouse gas reduction goals of 20 percent of what was emitted in 2005 (the House bill sets a 17 percent reduction). It creates the underpinnings of a cap-and-trade market for carbon credits. It allows forest and agriculture lands to be used as carbon offsets.

Share this story

Not a member yet?

Subscribe Now