Barbara Boxer, D-Calif., Chairwoman of the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee, wants to begin markup of the Senate's climate change bill Tuesday. But to do so, she will have to follow alternate rules. The problem she faces is that Republicans on the committee say they will not be present. Two members of the minority party must attend in order for a markup to proceed, under standard rules. But, under alternate rules, with a 12-7 majority favoring Democrats, Boxer does not need Republican's support to report the bill favorably.
According to Senate spokesman Matt Dempsey all seven Republicans on the EPW committee will not attend if Boxer pushes forward with a markup. Boxer is hoping Republicans on her committee will rethink their approach. She says as long as they refuse to come to work, they are not participating in one of the most important issues facing our generation. Boxer is leaving to door open for them to change their decision.
Meanwhile, all six ranking Republicans of the Senate committees with jurisdiction over portions of the Clean Energy Jobs and American Power Act have called for an analysis of the bill. They want to see a full accounting of the bill's projected impact on the nation's economy. That study has yet to be completed.
Senators Lisa Murkowski, R-Alaska, Saxby Chambliss, R-Ga., Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa, James Inhofe, R-Okla., Richard Lugar, R-Ind., and Kay Hutchison, R-Texas co-signed a letter to Boxer with their request. They wrote, "We are deeply troubled by the failure to accommodate a request from Republicans for a complete analysis of the bill's projected impacts on the nation."
The letter continued that while such analyses are never perfect, they are an essential aspect of the legislative decision-making process when policy changes of such consequence are in play, and these analyses are worth the time and resources required to not only get them done, but to get them done right.