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Thursday, November 05, 2009

Baucus Only Dem To Vote Against Climate Bill

Senate Climate Bill Passes Panel, Baucus Only Dem Against It
WASHINGTON — Senate Democrats sidestepped a Republican boycott Thursday, pushing a climate bill out of committee in an early step on a long and contentious road to passage.

Other committees still must weigh-in on the measure, but the partisan antics early on threatened to cast a pall over the bill – one of President Barack Obama's top priorities – as it makes its way to the Senate floor and as nations prepare to meet in Copenhagen, Denmark next month to hammer out a new international treaty to slow climate change.

Sen. Barbara Boxer, chairman of the Senate Environment & Public Works Committee, had delayed the crucial vote for days because of a Republican protest over whether the cost of the legislation had been fully examined. But the California Democrat moved quickly to pass the bill Thursday, which for the first time would set mandatory limits on heat-trapping gases, without any of the seven GOP senators on the panel present. The measure cleared the panel on a 11-1 vote.

Boxer said the Republican demand for more analysis was "duplicative and waste of taxpayer dollars."

"Advancing the bill is a necessary step on the road to garnering the 60 votes we need," said Boxer, who introduced the bill along with Sen. John Kerry, D-Mass. in late September. "We are pleased that despite the Republican boycott, we have had the will to move this bill forward."

Sen. James Inhofe of Oklahoma, the ranking Republican on the committee, implored the panel to not proceed with what he called a "nuclear option" minutes before the vote. He left shortly after making his statement.


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