November 4th, 2009
05:13 PM ET
13 years ago

GOP continues boycott of committee debate on climate bill

[cnn-photo-caption image= caption="Republicans on the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee, chaired by Sen. Boxer, are boycotting hearings on a climate change bill."]
Washington (CNN) - A Republican boycott of Senate committee debate on a major climate change bill continued for a second day Wednesday, frustrating majority Democrats who have threatened to move ahead despite the lack of a GOP presence.

Only one of the seven Republicans on the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee showed up Wednesday when the panel started its meeting on the bill authored by Democratic Sens. Barbara Boxer of California and John Kerry of Massachusetts.

Sen. James Inhofe of Oklahoma, the panel's ranking Republican and an outspoken opponent of climate change legislation, left the meeting after delivering a brief statement. Republicans also stayed away from Tuesday's opening session after one GOP senator - George Voinovich of Ohio - made an opening statement.

Committee rules require at least two minority party members to be present to reach a working quorum. However, an exception could allow the committee to proceed on the bill without any Republicans, according to committee staff members.

Boxer, who chairs the committee, said Tuesday she hoped the Republicans would join the debate, but that the panel eventually would act on the bill without them as permitted under Senate rules.

Matt Dempsey, a spokesman for the committee's Republicans, told CNN that applying the exception would be a "nuclear option" by Democrats that would worsen the panel's already strained political climate.

On Wednesday, Inhofe issued a similar warning, telling Boxer that acting without the participation of Republicans would be "unwise."

"Choosing to set aside the committee's long-standing rules would jeopardize our ability to work together on other issues," he said.

He repeated the demand of Republicans for the Environmental Protection Agency to conduct a full analysis of the bill's effects on the U.S. economy before the committee begins amending the measure. Such an analysis would take several weeks, and Democrats consider the Republican demand a stall tactic.

Boxer noted Tuesday the panel has held dozens of hearings on the issue and compiled more than 300,000 pages of analysis, and that she had taken the unprecedented step of scheduling a session with EPA experts to answer any questions by committee members. However, the Republicans skipped the EPA briefing on Tuesday afternoon.

Boxer also said Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nevada, has promised the full EPA analysis sought by Republicans on the climate change bill that eventually comes before the entire Senate.

She accused the panel's Republicans of being wrong in their insistence that the EPA analysis of the bill was insufficient.

"You can't compromise when somebody says something that's just flat-out wrong," Boxer said Tuesday.

The committee's 12-member Democratic majority ensures enough support to send the bill to the full Senate without any Republican support.

Although the House has already passed its version of the bill, Senate approval is considered a much tougher challenge for Democratic proponents of the "cap-and-trade" legislation, which would contribute to reshaping the U.S. energy system.

Republicans say the Democratic climate change bill would harm the U.S. economy by raising energy costs and giving other nations a competitive advantage.

Democrats say reducing greenhouse gas emissions and the nation's dependence on fossil fuels such as oil and coal is necessary and strategic as the world moves toward clean and renewable energy sources.

The Senate bill would set a cap on greenhouse gas emissions and create a system of tradable pollution credits to ease the economic impact on polluters.

Filed under: Energy • Senate
soundoff (97 Responses)
  1. Keeth in California

    Cowards. This isn't engaging the political process and debating issues. This is pure cowardice. Real classy, GOP (Got 0 Plans).

    November 4, 2009 08:40 pm at 8:40 pm |
  2. Moderate

    A smart opponent will use this lame stunt against each Republican during their next election campaign. They have clearly do not care about the country. They hate America and this proves it – at least that's what Rush Limpbag would say if a Democrat tried this. Pathetic! This is something you would expect of a 5 year old, not a US Senator.

    November 4, 2009 08:44 pm at 8:44 pm |
  3. Allen from Illinois

    As usual the party of "No"acts like a bunch of spoiled crybabys. I just can't belive any sane person would vote for these people! If the Democrats pulled something like this we would never here the end of it! I say dock their pay & put it towars healthcare!

    November 4, 2009 08:51 pm at 8:51 pm |
  4. Bob in Pa

    I'm sure John Kerry aand Ms Boxer actually authored the Bill. Say it like it is, They are sponsering a bill written by some outside group of lawyers representing several various environmental and union organizations.

    Lets recycle this bill and flush it down the toidy !

    November 4, 2009 08:54 pm at 8:54 pm |
  5. jayjohn

    Get gore to keep his mouth shut and the climate will cool down.

    November 4, 2009 08:57 pm at 8:57 pm |
  6. Helene

    As we all know too well since Galileo, the earth is flat.

    November 4, 2009 08:58 pm at 8:58 pm |
  7. annie against biased news

    boxer better be worried about her own political future! crap & tax otherwise know as gore's I'm getting richer quicker scheme will be the death of this country.

    November 4, 2009 09:21 pm at 9:21 pm |
  8. E

    Wow sounds like one certain party needs to grow up. How are they supposed to compromise and get things done if they don't show up. I hope the Democrats do it anyway!

    November 4, 2009 09:23 pm at 9:23 pm |
  9. liberal for change!

    Why should we care about the money? We can just print more of it. Who cares about wealth?! Money only brings trouble.... and cars and jobs and computers I suppose. But still, controlling the way others use energy is far more important than those things! Oh but I want my car. Actually I want to buy a hybrid. Can I have monies pleeez?

    November 4, 2009 09:29 pm at 9:29 pm |
  10. LacrosseTeen

    To those of you who really want to make a difference in the environment, encourage the vegetarians to leave the green vegetables alone! If they stop eating all the green plants, then we would have more plants giving off oxygen! LOL! I've always wanted to say the way, my dad is very smart and i'd like to be just like him someday. My momma on the other hand, hmm...not so much! I dare CNN to post this...

    November 4, 2009 09:32 pm at 9:32 pm |
  11. T'SAH from Virginia

    They need to give me their paycheck and I will attend the meeting and just sit there and shout YOU LIE over and over again... the Party of NO with the big L on their foreheads.

    MOVE ON Democrats – just like health care, the REPUBLI-CAN'Ts have NO intentions on agreeing with anything you do!!!

    November 4, 2009 09:32 pm at 9:32 pm |
  12. Dave

    I hope the Dems move ahead, also. It will be another nail in their coffin for 2010.

    November 4, 2009 09:39 pm at 9:39 pm |
  13. Paul

    Just as well the GOP left. They have nothing of substance to contribute, only their delusional ideas about what science has to say about climate change. The Dems should just ignore them and do what's right for the environment.

    November 4, 2009 09:49 pm at 9:49 pm |
  14. Peter Zheutlin

    What asinine behavior. Climate change is a serious threat; the scientific evidence is overwhelming. These GOP Senators, had they lived centuries ago, would be telling us the Earth is flat. Future generations will pay a steep price for this idiocy unless the Democrats forge ahead without them and they should. It's become clear over recent months that the GOP is not a constructive partner. It's pure obstructionism.

    November 4, 2009 09:50 pm at 9:50 pm |
  15. Dave Axelrod

    This lady should be taught a lesson. I hope that Californians will throw out in the comign election. She is useless.

    November 4, 2009 09:55 pm at 9:55 pm |
  16. New Yorker

    If the people who are complaining about the Republicans knew what this cap and trade garbage is all about, I mean if they could comprehend the damage it would do to this nation, they would end the debate.

    Global warming is part of a natural cycle that has been taking place since time began. That is a fact. Believe what you want.

    November 4, 2009 09:55 pm at 9:55 pm |
  17. Tony

    Look at our economy after 30 years of Reaganomics. Time for a change. Let's get back to American values of hard work and stop rewarding those who are born into wealth. I don't think we need any Republican opinions on what's good or bad for our economy. Their ideas always lead to a depression or recession but never to prosperity. Pay attention Americans. Your children are counting on you.

    November 4, 2009 09:57 pm at 9:57 pm |
  18. jsmith

    Today Al Gore admitted that CO2 Isn’t the main problem of global warming...he says this would only be 40%..its interesting, he is being challemged by scientist and he cant defend it...This is a hoax.
    Read it...

    November 4, 2009 10:08 pm at 10:08 pm |
  19. Peter E

    How much more analysis do republicans need? The EPA has been analysing and re-analysing climate change for years. (despite active supression and editing of reports by Bush&Cheney) The fact is that NOT acting is going to be considerably worse for our economy, as well as our international relations which in turn will worsen the economy even more! But I guess it's not considered a 'crisis' really until it starts to hurt the rich! Just like the health care debate. The US health care system has been in crisis for two decades but politicians (and their corporate lobbyist sponsors) keep delaying it as if we're still waiting for an 'actual' crisis, defined as one that affects them and their corporate CEO friends directly!

    November 4, 2009 10:09 pm at 10:09 pm |
  20. james

    Boycotting the
    I cannot come up with any better descriptions for the republicans than close-minded, short thinking, immoral idiots. I can't believe I used to call myself one of them a few years ago.

    November 4, 2009 10:10 pm at 10:10 pm |
  21. Crazy

    Inhofe: "We are not going to participate. Acting without our participation would be unwise."

    I don't even need to say anything.

    November 4, 2009 10:14 pm at 10:14 pm |
  22. Brenda

    The Republicans are VERY smart to stay WAY clear of this Climate Bill--as they do not want to pay the price during the 2010 and 2012 elections. They do not want to get their names connected to this Bill in any way--as it is a sure way of getting booted out of office in 2010.

    This Bill will cause millions of US citizens to lose their jobs--beginning with anyone who has a job in the coal industry. Then, miillions more jobs lost for those who work in mills, plants, factories, etc. Then, millions more jobs lost for truck drivers, airlines, farmers, etc. Then, millions more jobs lost in retail, construction, etc.--as NOBODY will have money to spend.

    PLUS, citizens will not only be paying more for their electric/gas bills--we will be paying more for EVERYTHING--as every business is going to have their expenses/taxes increased--so they will pass that expense on to us.

    Let the Democrats be the ones to try to shove this Bill down the throats of US citizens-–as they will be committing political suicide for the 2010 and 2012 elections. Even Democrats will be voting against them-–as millions of Democrats will be losing their jobs as well.

    November 4, 2009 10:16 pm at 10:16 pm |
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