- Obama ‘cavalier’ in hiding foreign aid order, judge rules
- Prince Charles: Muslims are driving Christians from Mideast through persecution
- Gitmo’s first commander: Close the prison down
- Google’s newest photography find: Just wink and shoot
- Detroit’s Heidelberg art project hit by 8 fires in 8 months
- Pa. police pull people over for random DNA tests for feds
- NASA pushing hard to get back into space game
- Harvard student to face federal charges for bomb hoax
- Ronnie Biggs of ‘Great Train Robbery’ fame dies, 84
- Pope Francis wins another ‘Person of the Year’ — from gay rights magazine
Panel OKs climate-change bill without GOP
The Senate Environment and Public Works Committee on Thursday passed a sweeping climate-change bill, with none of the panel’s seven Republicans participating in the 11-1 vote.
But the legislation, co-authored by committee Chairman Barbara Boxer, California Democrat, and fellow Democrat Sen. John Kerry of Massachusetts, will not go directly to the Senate floor. It will instead become a starting point for extensive negotiations among lawmakers led by Majority Leader Harry Reid of Nevada.
The committee’s approval of a climate-change bill was also designed to show other nations that the U.S. government was serious about cutting carbon-dioxide emissions and prod other countries to do the same. Mrs. Boxer told reporters that the vote will help the cause of reaching a global warming agreement at the international summit in Copenhagen next month.
“This is a great signal for Copenhagen in that there’s the will to do what it takes to address this issue,” she said. But she would not predict that the full Senate would be ready to debate her bill by the Copenhagen conference, which begins Dec. 7.
Democratic Sen. Max Baucus of Montana, the chairman of the Senate Finance Committee, was the sole Democrat to vote against the bill in committee Thursday. He said that he did not support the bill’s proposed 20 percent target cut in greenhouse-gas emissions by 2020 and that the bill did not adequately protect farmers.
For their part, Senate Republicans dismissed the vote as “theatrics.” They and some moderate Democrats said the bill will not form the basis for a final plan in the Senate, in part because Republicans had no role in the process and, in fact, were boycotting the committee deliberations.
Sen. John D. Rockefeller IV, West Virginia Democrat, said the Kerry-Boxer bill cuts emissions too quickly and would force electric utilities and heavy industry to switch from coal to natural gas, which would devastate his state’s economy.
“The balance on this is among people who, like myself, are people who come from coal states and manufacturing states, who can’t just meet the Copenhagen deadline,” Mr. Rockefeller said.
The bill is already being upstaged by a more conservative alternative being put together by Mr. Kerry; Sen. Joe Lieberman, Connecticut independent; and Sen. Lindsey Graham, South Carolina Republican. Their compromise plan would significantly expand nuclear power and domestic oil drilling.
Mr. Graham sounded relieved that the legislation is no longer being debated inside Mrs. Boxer’s sharply divided committee.
“It makes it easier because we have the committee process, that part of it, behind us. Now we can all start sitting down and seeing where the votes are,” he said. “Clearly there are not 60 votes for that product.”
Mr. Baucus said later that the end of the partisan standoff in the Environment and Public Works Committee should allow for more wide-ranging negotiations on a new bipartisan climate bill.
“It frees up the Senate, frankly,” the Montana Democrat said.
He said he might hold hearings this year in the Senate Finance Committee, but may not write his own legislation until January.
The bill passed by committee Thursday is similar to one narrowly approved by the House in June. Both bills would establish a “cap-and-trade” system that would force polluters to buy annual permits from the government or other polluters for the right to emit greenhouse gas. The government would, however, give away most of the emissions permits, called allowances, in the bill’s early years.
About the Author
By John R. Bolton
The president fiddles at his domestic altar while the world burns
- U.S. Army mulls wiping out memory of Robert E. Lee, 'Stonewall' Jackson
- Top Democrats reject court ruling over NSA spying on Americans
- IRS pays tax cheats hundreds of millions of dollars
- HURT: D.C. gets the vapors, calls sequester too much
- BOLTON: Nero in the White House
- EDITORIAL: Al Gore, soothsayer
- Obama mocks Putin, picks gay athletes for Sochi delegation
- We told you so: Conservatives foresaw polygamy ruling
- Army to cut up to 4,000 captains and majors
- Rush weighs in: Maybe Republicans dont dislike Obamacare
Independent voices from the The Washington Times Communities
Find the latest news and happening that effect those in the Washington D.C., Northern Virginia and Maryland Metro region.
Southern Fried Politics from the Lens of a Persian-American Millennial
Wall Street news for retail investors who want to know what's going on.
Politics, economics, and business from a real world perspective.
Top 10 handguns in the U.S.
Extraordinary day at Redskins Park
White House pets gone wild!
Let it snow