Saturday, November 7, 2009

Climate Change: A Good Step, but Too Little Too Late

You probably already know that the GOP has been blocking the markup of the climate bill in the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee.  A quorum including two or more Republicans is required to vote on amendments to the bill.  Only one Republican per day has attended.

climate-change 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.

With Copenhagen just a month away, Kate Sheppard argues for Mother Jones that the odds of passing a viable climate bill before the climate summit are very grim. On Tuesday, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid announced that the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) will run a series of studies after each committee’s climate and energy bills are combined into a single piece of legislation. Even though the bill passed through the EPW committee, other committees, such as the Energy and Natural Resources Committee, Finance Committee, and Agriculture Committee, need to weigh in before the bill is reviewed by the EPA and sent for a vote in the full Senate. How will this affect climate talks in Copenhagen? Sheppard writes that, “Without the urgency imposed by the Copenhagen deadline, any little momentum that the climate bill had could disappear very fast.”… [emphasis added]

Inserted from <Alternet>

This was an excellent move on Boxer’s part.  I only wish she had taken this step sooner.  Democrats in the House and Senate need to recognize that the GOP is conduct6ing a war on progress and are disregarding the national well being in favor of their perception of political advantage.  There have been too many olive branches already.  It’s time cut them out of the process at every opportunity.

14 comments:

the walking man said...

Not only is it time for the Republicans to be cut from the process they refuse to participate in; it is also time for Reid to do some committee reassignments among the Democrats. Send them who are obstructing important legislation because their master order them to do so to the committee of nothing.

Better yet the WH should start removing pork money from their districts.

Kevin Kelley said...

Politics is a game, and the Democrats are just not as good at it as the Republicans are...

Holte Ender said...

Republicans play the game of opposition much than the Democrats do, its when they are in power the republicans really screw up. That's when they accuse everyone else of playing politics. If at all possible the Democrats should just blow right past the republican opposition, crush their arguments and push them hard all the time.

phil said...

Just one? Unreal!

TomCat said...

Mark, I could not agree more.

Kevin, if your premise that politics is a game is correct, the Republicans are mush better at that gamesmanship. To the Democrats disadvantage in that game, too many remember that it is not really a game and that human lives are at stake. It is a sad state of affairs that virtually all elected Republicans and far too many elected Democrats treat politics as a game instead of the critical struggle for justice and survival that politics really is.

Holte, I fully agree.

Phil, it's amazing that they make no pretense at all about their obstruction.

Gwendolyn H. Barry said...

TC, considering that the New Repubs are prone to stupidity and unaccountability... well, corporate policy will reign with them. It's a good post...
Barcelona is a bust for us... one wonders what failings we will achieve in Copenhagen? Bless Al for is hard work... even though our President is not yet up to speed.
:-)

ivan said...

I think I have a private war agains the EPA ever since they took away my cigarettes through unfair taxation here and starting a de facto tobacco prohibiion.
So I say, along with John Stewart, how come it gets cold every January?

Jo said...

It is too little, too late. Not just one country can fix it anymore. The torch has been passed to China and India. If they don't get on board, it's way too late.

I'm 12,000? *heh* The more things change, they more they remain the same. :-)

RealityZone said...

http://www.globalresearch.ca/index.php?context=va&aid=15957

TomCat said...

Gwen, a couple months ago, I had high hopes for Copenhagen. At least watching Inhoffe make a fool of himself there will be fun.

Jodie, that's about it. I was thinking this morning that it took you longer than I expected.

Thanks RZ.

rjs said...

jo is right, too little, too late...i hate to be a defeatist, but it hardly matters anymore, especially as concerns anything congress might do...the feedback loops in the arctic are already accelerating the release of methane from the permafrost, which is 33x more potent a greenhouse gas than CO2...even if we stopped using fossil fuels altogether, there would still be a 2C degree warming within the century...

Marva said...

I'm with Walking Man. Reid and Pelosi need to put the obstructionist Dems in the back alley. I'm sick of so-called Dems fighting everything that we know is right and good.

Lisa G. said...

I agree with Marva! But Damn - finally, the Dems got something to move out of committee and the Republicans screwed themselves in the process. That just makes me - well - bwahahahaha!

TomCat said...

RJ, while I agree with you, the more we accomplish now, the greater the possibility that humanity can survive the crisis.

Marva, I fully agree.

Lisa, I hear you. Sometimes I'm almost overcome with the desire to rub their noses in their own...