Week’s Debate Has Been Contentious
By Steven Mufson and Juliet Eilperin
If this week’s Senate debate on a proposed cap-and-trade system for greenhouse gases was supposed to be a dress rehearsal for climate legislation, things are not looking too good for opening night.
The week has been marked by parliamentary maneuvers and bitter accusations over divergent estimates of the bill’s future costs. On Wednesday, a group of GOP senators asked that the clerk of the Senate read the entire 491-page bill aloud, an extremely rare request. That took more than 10 hours.
Although parliamentary maneuvers could still extend the debate into next week, Senate Majority Leader Harry M. Reid (Nev.) faced the prospect of failure in a bid to end debate on amendments to the climate bill this morning. In that event, he was expected to seek withdrawal of the entire measure, to the relief of some Democrats from coal-producing or heavy industrial states.
“We are going to have Democrats voting to end debate on what they call the most important issue facing the planet and Republicans voting to continue debate on it,” said Don Stewart, communications director for Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.).
Some Democrats were worried yesterday that the GOP might try to block withdrawal of the legislation to prolong a debate that many Democrats think no longer works to their political benefit. Republicans have pounced on the high price of gasoline and have stressed that the climate legislation, by introducing a price on carbon dioxide emissions, would further raise the price of gas along with that of all other fossil fuels.
James M. Inhofe (Okla.), the top Republican on the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee, said in a statement, “Now Democrats are on record as supporting legislation that would significantly increase prices at the pump and in our homes.”
Read the rest of this article at the Washington Post.