November 4th, 2009
05:13 PM ET
12 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. Matt

    I hope the Democrats move ahead and do this without the Republicans.
    This stuff needs to get done.

    November 4, 2009 05:14 pm at 5:14 pm |
  2. Mr. Phil

    To be a part of a debate, one must enter into it with facts. Considering these "Republicans" believe that "god" put fossils on Earth to test our "faith," it's hard to have facts on their side.

    November 4, 2009 05:16 pm at 5:16 pm |
  3. JonDie

    Democrats should move again now. It's called democracy. The Republican Party stands for the tyranny of the minority, aka dictatorship.

    And I hope that the next time Republicans come to power that Democrats block all Republcian legislative and judicial initiatives.

    November 4, 2009 05:17 pm at 5:17 pm |
  4. Corey

    I guess Boxer and Kerry are looking forward to early retirement?

    November 4, 2009 05:18 pm at 5:18 pm |
  5. Tram

    More proof that the GOP hates America, Americans and the world.

    Why do they exist? If all they can do is destroy, then kick them all out of office.

    November 4, 2009 05:18 pm at 5:18 pm |
  6. Proud Member..Party of No

    Great job, republicans......shut these lunatics down....we want our country back.

    November 4, 2009 05:19 pm at 5:19 pm |
  7. From Wyoming

    John Em-Barasso! Get your butt in there and DO YOUR JOB!!! We are not paying you to act like a spoiled child

    November 4, 2009 05:20 pm at 5:20 pm |
  8. mark

    No new taxes!

    November 4, 2009 05:24 pm at 5:24 pm |
  9. carlos, THAT one

    leave those insignificant repugnants and please vote for profress and not regress that those right wingers hell with them, this U.S of A will be better off without them all

    November 4, 2009 05:28 pm at 5:28 pm |
  10. DianeR PCFL

    Move on without the Repubifascists. They're trying to kill healthcare over social issues no one cares about and are acting like spoiled little brats on Cap & Trade. Lock 'em out and move on. Then ridicule the crapout of them in 2010. Use the nuclear option at every turn, if necessary. We put Democrats in power because we are sick and tired of gutless Republicans who don't give a darn about the future of this county. Stick it to 'em till they squeal like the little piggies they are.

    November 4, 2009 05:28 pm at 5:28 pm |

    The political spectrum has just shifted to the right after last night's elections. No Congress person who wants to keep their job in 2010 will support Obama policies now. 2010 will be a mirror of 1994. Out with the dems, in with the repubs.

    November 4, 2009 05:29 pm at 5:29 pm |
  12. Jonathan this kind of thing your job Republicans....? I forgot, all you can do is say "no".

    November 4, 2009 05:30 pm at 5:30 pm |
  13. Ryan in cinci

    Why are they getting away with this????

    November 4, 2009 05:31 pm at 5:31 pm |
  14. File under "Sarcasm"

    The minority party only has certain options when the majority party tries to run a one sided government. That's why those options are in the rules. The Democrats should remember that one day they'll be the minority and need the same rules to support their point of view.

    November 4, 2009 05:34 pm at 5:34 pm |
  15. ccbaby7897

    Matt, I agree with you 100%. Let's move on !!!,

    November 4, 2009 05:36 pm at 5:36 pm |
  16. Mike in MN

    Way to go Republicans. The cap and trade bill is nothing short of the willfull destruction of the US economy. And for no good reason. Global warming is based on bad science and even if it was not, most global warming experts say that cap and trade will not have any effect on climate change if China and Inda don't do the same thing, and they won't. To do willfull harm to the US is treason.

    November 4, 2009 05:36 pm at 5:36 pm |
  17. Vicki

    Aren't these senators getting paid? To me it seems like they are the ones wasting taxpayers money by not doing their job!!

    I am an educator and it seems to me that congress is acting like a bunch of children!!! "If I do not get my way, I am going to take my ball and go home!"

    November 4, 2009 05:38 pm at 5:38 pm |
  18. Travis In Colorado

    Ok, I'm a Republican in Colorado. Red till I'm dead. Why the heck can't more Republicans see that the weather on this planet is changing rapidly? We need to take steps to prevent further damage to the envinronment. We have to leave a better world for our children and our grandchildren. We need to get the greedy and selfish politicians out of office and put in some new blood! How many Republicans are with me? I hope a lot, other wise we're all dead, no matter what party you belong to.

    November 4, 2009 05:39 pm at 5:39 pm |
  19. WOW

    Short term thinking. That's what the GOP is all about.

    This reform is not only good for the earth it will be good for economy in the long run!!! If we don't progress in how we get energy and decide to rely on fossil fuels where are we going to be when renewable energy is the norm!? Fossil fuels are not eternal!

    Basic operations and economies of scale will show that the groups that enter into this energy production earlier will soon be able to produce said energy at lower cost and higher efficiencies!!!

    COME ON PEOPLE. oh yeah... and please stop acting like babies! You're all grown ups playing a school yard game.

    November 4, 2009 05:40 pm at 5:40 pm |
  20. RJ

    As Ronald Reagan would say, " There they go again" They are truely the party of DUMB and not just no. First they cry about not being apart of Health Care reform and now they refuse to apart of the discussion on Global Warming, let the adults get it done and allow these babies led by the Wizard of Oz Micheal Steele whine in the corner !

    November 4, 2009 05:40 pm at 5:40 pm |
  21. single mom

    I'm hoping hockeybear from the Maine gay marriage page sees this –
    Hockeybear – What I'm trying to say is that every time 'marriage' is used, it has religious connotations and that stirs up the far right. I have nothing against two people in love (Whatever the genders) having a civil union that is recognized with legal rights. When I was stationed in Britain, my ex and I had a civil service, not a religious ceremony. In the eyes of the law we were just as legally bound as if we'd had a pastor/priest who could do both the civil and religious aspects.
    Like I said before, semantics and splitting hairs, but please know that I do not believe anyone should be discriminated against. Period.
    Unless you're a terrorist. But that's a different blog. ; )

    November 4, 2009 05:43 pm at 5:43 pm |
  22. Michelle

    The GOP-aren't they acting like spoiled children? From Palin to Rush to our elected officials, they will do anything to avoid a reasonable discussion of an issue. Palin is isn't over, because the House may find itself with very few Republicans next year. It is obvious that the problems are not because of Obama,; they are because the Republicans will do and say anything to make sure nothing positive happens this year. And they have the gall to think they are being patriotic.

    November 4, 2009 05:44 pm at 5:44 pm |
  23. Jason LIttle

    Since when has sticking one's head in the sand been a solution to anything?

    November 4, 2009 05:44 pm at 5:44 pm |
  24. ray

    get the warming is a LIE !!!

    November 4, 2009 05:46 pm at 5:46 pm |
  25. single mom

    Oh, dear. My apologies to the rest of the country for what Boxer is doing. We'll try to take care of this next year."

    Mr. Phil, this is one Republican/conservative/moderate as in not left liberal who realizes that there were dinosaurs, the Earth is older than 6000 years old, and believes that there is intelligent life elsewhere. Because God has a sense of humor if nothing else.
    Oh, and if people are solely responsible for this global warming/cooling, then what's going on on Mars and the other planets? Mmm?

    November 4, 2009 05:46 pm at 5:46 pm |
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