Republicans may delay climate bill markup
By Juliet Eilperin
Republicans on the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee may block a markup on the Democrats' climate bill if they're not satisfied they've gotten a sufficient analysis time to review the text in detail, according to the panel's top Republican, Sen. James M. Inhofe (Okla.).
Inhofe, speaking to reporters Friday afternoon, said the committee's seven Republicans were united in their determination to fully review the bill sponsored by Democratic Sens. John Kerry (Mass.) and Barbara Boxer (Calif.). The bill is set to have its first hearing Tuesday and Boxer, who chairs the Environmental and Public Works Committee, said this week she hopes to mark up the bill a week or two after that.
Although the ratio of committee Democrats to Republicans is 12 to 7, under committee rules two Republicans must attend a markup in order to have a quorum.
"We're not being unreasonable," Inhofe said. "The only leverage we have is the quorum leverage, and if we get stonewalled, we'll use it."
Inhofe described his criteria in broad terms. "It's got to be adequate time to analyze what is there, the text is in front of us," he said.
The Environmental Protection Agency is expected to submit an economic analysis of the Kerry-Boxer bill to the committee Friday, but it hadn't arrived as of mid-afternoon.
Boxer said: "We must move forward on this legislation to create millions of clean energy jobs, to reduce our dependence on foreign oil, and to protect our children from dangerous pollution. The Republicans should join us in this effort, and not just say, 'No.' If they choose to boycott this landmark undertaking, then we will use every tool at our disposal to proceed."
Committee Democrats used a similar tactic in 2005 to delay consideration of President Bush's "Clear Skies" proposal for several months. It finally came before the committee and received a tie vote of 9 to 9.
October 23, 2009; 4:57 PM ET
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