Climate Change: The Grown-Ups Are Back In Charge


Senate Democrats in the Environment and Public Works Committee finally squelched Republican boycotts and passed a version of the climate bill Wednesday morning. Last week, Republican senators refused to show up to committee hearings in an attempt to stall the bill. Brian Beutler of Talking Points Memo notes that EPW has now set “the stage for other panels to amend the legislation.”

To no one’s surprise, Sen. James Inhofe, R-Okla., immediately complained about the legislation on Fox News. Sen. Max Baucus, D-Mont., was the lone Democrat that did not vote, which Inhofe interpreted as a sign that the bill is “dead.”

Chairman Barbara Boxer, D-Calif., was much more upbeat and argued that the Republican boycott actually marred their credibility. “The absence of the Republicans during the Environmental Protection Agency’s presentation was a clear message that their criticism of the EPA analysis was not a substantive one,” Boxer said. “We are pleased that despite the Republican boycott, we have been able to move the bill.”

Inhofe also condemned Boxer for passing the bill through the committee unconventionally. Aaron Wiener writes for The Washington Independent that “Without a quorum that included at least two Republicans, the committee was unable to open formal debate on amendments to the bill. But passage requires just a simple majority, and Chairman Boxer and the Democratic leadership chose to forgo amendments in order to move the legislation quickly, given that the end of the GOP boycott was nowhere in sight.”  Luckily, now that the bill is moving on to other committees, Inhofe and his Republican EPW colleagues will no longer have much of a say on the bill’s final outcome.

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