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On Climate Bill, Wait 'Till Next Year

A sweeping climate change bill that has roiled the Senate for three days died on the chamber floor this morning, after Republicans refused to cut off debate and proceed to final passage on the measure.

The bill, which would have mandated reductions in greenhouse gas emissions, was felled on a procedural vote, with 48 Senators voting to invoke cloture, 36 voting against and an unusually large 16 senators not voting at all. Sixty votes were necessary to cut off debate.

The climate measure was delayed at least in part by Republican opponents who demanded more time to read the measure and more opportunities to offer amendments. But the measure also got caught up in an unrelated dispute over whether Democrats have been moving quickly enough to confirm President Bush's judicial nominees.

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) accused Republicans of being simply unwilling to address the global warming issue, and he took a shot at Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) for missing the vote (even though Sen. Barack Obama (D-Ill.) didn't show up either).

"We saw this morning yet another example of Bush-McCain Republicans refusing to address one of the most important issues of our time. Given the opportunity to solve the urgent energy and economic crises of today and environmental crises of tomorrow, they ran away from the debate," Reid said. "When you look at who Republicans have chosen as the new standard-bearer, this is not entirely surprising: Senator McCain says global warming is one of his top issues, but when he has the chance to do something about it, he doesn't even show up to work."

But Republicans suggested it was actually Democrats who were afraid of the debate, particularly of holding amendment votes they might lose.

"The message is clear: the majority can't abandon this bill fast enough," said Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.). "So now we're in a most peculiar situation. On the one hand, the majority says climate change is the most important issue facing the planet. Yet they've rushed the debate on that topic and brought the bill to a premature end. They brought it down before we could vote on gas prices, on clean energy technology, or on protecting American jobs."

It's possible that Democrats could revive the bill before the year is out, but the chances will grow slimmer as Election Day approaches, and the odds that both the House and Senate would actually agree on a measure this year and get it to Bush's desk are roughly zero. It's more likely that a President McCain or Obama will have the first crack at it.

By Ben Pershing  |  June 6, 2008; 10:50 AM ET
Categories:  Agenda , Senate  
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Comments

Throw The Worthless Republican Bums Out!

The worthless Republicans wimped out again on Climate Change, afraid to even begin debate on the Climate Change! After hours of balley hoo by Republicans about how much more time they needed to debate such an important 7 TRILLION DOLLAR bill, the wimpy Republicans WIMPED OUT and complained they wanted more NEOCON judges appointed! Talk about a bunch of COWARDS!

McCain is a pitiful excuse of a leader to claim he believes Global Warming is IMPORTANT! McCain wants to lead the country and he can't even get Republicans to talk about Climate Change! THROW THE BUMS OUT! What a bunch of COWARDS! All Republicans want to do is give tax breaks to the rich and lie and mislead the American people into wars that never should have been waged! IT IS TIME FOR CHANGE and NOVEMBER WILL KICK THE REPUBLICANS OUT OF THE WAY!

Posted by: Steve Kirslis | June 6, 2008 11:30 AM | Report abuse

Let's not make the same mistakes that were made in the past with environmental legislation. When environmental problems get public attention and get the attention of politicians, this immediately forces special interest groups to become active and try to influence politicians and their legislation, often allocating public funds.

The experience in the past showed how these interest groups, by claiming to have the sole knowledge, take over this legislative process and push their own agendas. A process both Senator Obama and McCain reject and hopefully in the future will lead to a evaluation process based on common sense, with the assistance of science.

So why not, like any problem solving, first identify the cause of problems and then, in order to find solutions, set up criteria which should be met to avoid the same problems. Criteria that first should be met before any public funds are allocated, since this is the only purpose of Washington lobbyists.

A good start for such criteria would be:
1. The solution should not impact public health. And not cause air pollution.
2. The solution should have minimal negative impact on the earth's biosphere.
3. The energy should be stored and used when needed.

Some immediately will say that meeting these three criteria is not possible, but one only has to look at how biological life for millions of years was sustained based on their hydrogen-based energy cycle.

Humans benefited enormously (probably the reason it survived) of making fire, but isn't it time we also realize the problems this has created and use our acquired knowledge to solve our energy problems?

Posted by: Peter Maier | June 6, 2008 1:41 PM | Report abuse

If we spent one-TWENTIETH what we WASTE in my US tax dollars in Iraq on purchasing AMERICAN wind, solar, tidal, geothermal, and clean coal (CO2 scrubbers for existing plants) - we wouldn't HAVE to import Middle Eastern Oil.

Period.

Way to go comrades in the Red Bushie party! You and McSame and your neverending deficits and fake wars are CRIPPLING America!

Posted by: Will in Seattle | June 6, 2008 2:42 PM | Report abuse

Some day we will look back and be embarrassed that attempted to solve the "problem" of global warming without even having true scientific understanding as to what is causing it (even though global temperatures have not been rising as predicted).

Posted by: emikael | June 6, 2008 2:50 PM | Report abuse

Wow. Is this how O'Bama intends to reach out and change politics? Not showing up to cast (any) vote, letting his party hacks criticize his opponent for the very same behavior, not doing anything as leader of his party to even CONSIDER A SINGLE AMENDMENT that might have made this a better piece of legislation? Change? Believe in it if you're that naive, but not me.

Posted by: Cool Headed | June 6, 2008 4:53 PM | Report abuse

Wow, I find it hard to believe that those of you, (Both sides of the aisle) still accept the science if global warming. I would recommend you all dust off your 5th and 6th grade science books and re-acquaint yourself with the facts about the GHG levels. The war that this country faces is the persistent neglect for protecting the american way of life. I bet those of you that have submitted comments on this story will only be impacted by a few dollars per month. Maybe if you lived out west with those folks that rely on fuels that generate GHS you would have a different attitude. This bill would have added almost $6700 per year of additional energy costs to their individual budget. This is simply using the math that is outlined in the current bill. Not to mention the ancillary cost increases. I heard one Senator say that even rural america could implement mass transportation to reduce emissions. I am sorry but apparently you think that the stores and schools are just around the block. There is no way that a "one size fits all" works. Particularly with a diverse country such as good ol' USA.
Want to win the battle here at home. Get rid of the environmental influences that run this company. Quit being NIMBY's and allow us to utilize our own resources.

Posted by: Get a grip!!! | June 9, 2008 9:24 AM | Report abuse

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