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. New Age Independent

    Honestly, I don't see any reason why the EPA hasn't already conducted a complete analysis. It makes little sense to go forward foolishly in today's economy with yet another dangerous Democrat junk legislation.

    It's funny to see "Democrats" on this board bash the GOP for taking a page from the Democrats SOP. Of course then, their responses were completely different.

    November 4, 2009 06:38 pm at 6:38 pm |
  2. Dennis, Amarillo Texas

    The Democrats are just passing these bills to make Al Gore a Multi Billionaire, along with the other Democrats who are setting up Carbon Trading Companies, investing in technology these laws will force homeowners and energy users to buy in order to force purchase of their technology, while lining their companies with billions in profits. All the while, the Democrats will run out of business or subject energy business to government controls. This is the most outrageous trampling on the rights of Americans in the History of our Country. We either fight back or die from their suffication. CNN you can censor this true statement or let it stand. Either way, we will not stand by and watch this tyranny!

    November 4, 2009 06:45 pm at 6:45 pm |
  3. ib

    Stand firm; global warming is just an unproven theory and jobs should not be lost due to an unproven theory. Cap & trade should be called what it is cap & scam. If global warming is real why is Obama hoping on AF1 almost everyday? Boy; the carbon footprint he is leaving.

    November 4, 2009 07:19 pm at 7:19 pm |
  4. Joanna in PA

    Climate change is happening fast. Passing bill will help slow down the effects of this, CREATE GREEN JOBS that can not be out sourced, keep America safe from lining our enemies pockets with OUR money. Rather it would build our economy back up.Why does the GOP obstruct EVERYTHING? i i forgot, the want Obama to fail... Even if it hurts the people of our country. Step aside GOP, you are no longer needed. Haven't been needed for a while.

    November 4, 2009 07:20 pm at 7:20 pm |
  5. m jeff

    The GOP will boycott everything except giving the filty rich tax breaks.

    November 4, 2009 07:20 pm at 7:20 pm |
  6. Joanna in PA

    I have an Idea... How about we march on WASHINGTON with members Of ALL parties to put an end to this insanity and hate mongering on BOTH sides. Enough is enough. Lets us show some respect for all the men and women who came before us, through all of there challenges, yet remained somewhat classy about it? Lets show the Government on BOTH sides that we can disagree, think each others side is WRONG, yet remain adult.

    November 4, 2009 07:23 pm at 7:23 pm |
  7. James Michael Roberson

    I think it is a disgrace that the republicans are doing this. It really is outrageous. They are like a bunch of cry babies. Acting like children. Its like they have picked up all their toys and said "We are not going to play with you no more." This is absolutely no way to run a country. They have no place in the senate, it is a shame. They should go back to kindergarten and grow up!

    November 4, 2009 07:25 pm at 7:25 pm |
  8. Scott, Tucson

    Enjoy your chairmanship Boxer, for next year you will be out of work too along with Pelosi and Reid.

    November 4, 2009 07:33 pm at 7:33 pm |
  9. Ken, AZ

    Those republicans are acting like children and that's how they should be treated. They can't seem to remember that they lost their majority two elections ago.... they get a seat on the bus but they don't get to drive it. Last time we let them drive, they drove us over a cliff.

    November 4, 2009 07:37 pm at 7:37 pm |
  10. Indy

    you people are so STUPID its amazing, dems can do whatever they want right now and CANT, they are like children they are all over the place and can't pass anything. you sheep need to wake up and actually think for yourselves. We know you HATE republicans we get it , but that doesn't mean for a second that these Dems in power right now have the answers and will do anything to help this country! Wake up wake up wake up ! I can't believe how many STUPID people are in this country! You make me sick, the left is gonna sink so fast it will make your STUPID lil heads spin! You will look back at your brief time in power and wonder why how what wow we didn't get anything done!

    November 4, 2009 07:49 pm at 7:49 pm |
  11. JonDie

    Way to go Republicans. The cap and trade bill will save not only the U.S. economy by creating green jobs and making our economy more sustainable but as we literate, educated people know, global warming is FACT no matter what the ignorant, illiterate bumkins say to the contrary. To NOT deal with global warming is treason not just to the U.S. but to humanity as a whole.

    November 4, 2009 07:50 pm at 7:50 pm |
  12. m smith

    typical repo nonsense. They would rather make a stink then be part of the process.They are doing the people that voted for then a disservice by not showing up. People can disagree but if you arent there then I guess they just go on without you. So if you are not happy with the out come then just shut up about it.

    November 4, 2009 07:52 pm at 7:52 pm |
  13. cm

    To these democrats I say don't threaten do it. You are wasting precious time while the Americans are waiting for your voices to be heard and things accomplished. The GOP party from day one has not been there; what is new. They only came up with a short health care plan after how many years to delay any real progress; they do not care what the American people want they are just out to make an administration fail. Dems get smart remember you were elected by the people for the people. You will have to face your constituents there are elections. I hope that the dems read blogs and watch the media for they right along with the republicans are in troubled waters.

    November 4, 2009 07:53 pm at 7:53 pm |
  14. John

    Don't you get it?? If these morons sign this treaty they will empower a New World government that will have the ability to take US dollars and give them to other countries wityhout regard to US economics or jobs.
    THAT'S why the GOP is boycotting the meeting.
    Try to keep up folks this is important stuff.

    November 4, 2009 07:55 pm at 7:55 pm |
  15. Matthew

    If democrats and their uneducated followers want to further destroy our economy over an unproven theory (and a weak one at that), they will reap the 'rewards' - no credibility and no political power for years.

    Long live global cooling–11 years and going strong!

    November 4, 2009 07:57 pm at 7:57 pm |
  16. Annie, Atlanta

    Why do GOP senators, who appear to hate America, or at the very least Americans, even bother to run for office? This obstructionist behavior is preventing things from getting done. I hope the Democrats just move on without them.

    November 4, 2009 08:04 pm at 8:04 pm |
  17. Willy Brown

    Screw the climate change hoax bill.

    November 4, 2009 08:05 pm at 8:05 pm |
  18. John

    We don't need Republican in this bill,Just go ahead and pass it.

    November 4, 2009 08:10 pm at 8:10 pm |
  19. Keith A Sillsbury

    the party that doesn't play well with others, won't get to play at all then. watch in the next election.

    November 4, 2009 08:11 pm at 8:11 pm |
  20. German,Irish American

    Libs- why are crying and LYING about Republicans blocking the hijacking of health-care bill? You do not need ONE Republican vote in the House or Senate, it is your own Democrat infighting that is stopping this bill. To blame it on Republicans "blocking" this bill is nothing but another lie from Obama and the Democrat leadership. Remember, you have a fillibuster proof Senate, a big majority in the House and a Democrat President. It's time for transparency, another Obama lie, open the closed doors that ONLY Democrats and their lobbyists attend, and show the vicious infighting that is going on behind the scenes in the Democrat Party.

    November 4, 2009 08:11 pm at 8:11 pm |
  21. Greg, MN

    Obama just told us on Saturday we must look to increase our exports to create sustainable jobs. This bill increases costs of anything we manufacture making putting our exports at a disadvantage to cheaper goods made anywhere else in the world. No one else is following us, but Europe and the economy is trashed worse than ours.

    We need to protect the environment, but at what cost? This bill will cost each and every household hundreds if not thousands a year! Our economy is fragile and this will sink it. Anything you have that uses energy to manufacture it or run it will increase in cost. Food, clothes, gas, electricity, appliances, vehicles, costs will increase.

    November 4, 2009 08:21 pm at 8:21 pm |
  22. willoughby

    Maybe some of the Republicans don't remember that (sadly) a fair # of Democrats did support legislation brought by Republicans - the tax cuts, war with Iraq, No Child Left Behind.

    The Congressional Republicans now are truly a "Party of No!" I think they're actually acting more like toddlers than teens.

    November 4, 2009 08:21 pm at 8:21 pm |
  23. petey hatfield

    Well we as a nation have become winers always something mining logging oil smoking global warming always something u know if every person would take care of them selves they would not have time for anything else and if global warming is happining why has the weather got cold real fast this year? If they are going to lie to me and make me believe it it needs to be believable. I live in west virginia and it has already dipped down to 30 degrees hmm yeah somebody is a LIAR I love that word u go joe as I have said before coal keeps the lights on if you don't like coal then unhook your power because everytime you pay a power bill or turn on a light yes you are supporting coal and I thank you keep up the good work so many jobs depend on this country consuming electricity the more we use the more we need that keeps my people working thanks america for the contribution to coal. Jack as always it is a pleasure hearing you on CNN take care keepem straight this is petey hatfield gilbert WV oh yes coal keeps your lights and my lights on the heart of the billion dollar coal fields thank you

    November 4, 2009 08:23 pm at 8:23 pm |
  24. BoBo

    YAY! Lets tax people some more! Man-made climate change is a LIE! Look up EPICA core and VOSTOK core. Warming periods after iceages have happened time and time again and they usually last 10,000 years. We are at the peak of a warming period right now. Be happy because another iceage is next on the agenda and they last 100,000 years.

    November 4, 2009 08:26 pm at 8:26 pm |
  25. Ken in NC

    I am a Democrat and seldom do I agree with what Republicans put down but when they boycott meetings because they want to stall or stop legislation, that is where I draw the line. I do not care if you are Democrat or Republican, you were elected to work for the people and to boycott is not working. You were elected and are being paid to do your job. I understand how it feels to want to have something one way and I can't because I am either not in control or do not have a majority so I must do the best I can until such time as I am in the majority or in some manner of control. Republicans, Democrats I am beginning to tire of the both of you not being able to get anything done. This has been going on since Obama was elected and it has got to stop. Now I am prepared to switch my party to Independent and work my tail to the bone to insure that none of you return to the halls of the congress by 2012. This voter has spoken. Stick that in your pipes and smoke it.

    November 4, 2009 08:37 pm at 8:37 pm |
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