Senate Climate Negotiations Falter on Republican Inability to Participate
As promised, Republican members of the Senate Energy and Public works committee failed to show up at the mark-up session for the Kerry-Boxer climate and energy bill convened by chairperson Senator Barbara Boxer, save for a brief appearance by Ohio Senator George Voinovich - who showed up for a brief time to deliver a prepared statement as to why they weren't showing up. Ostensibly, the Republican's justify their refusal to participate in the deliberative process (i.e. their jobs) because they claim there is not sufficient cost-analysis on the bill from the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).
Boxer gave the Republicans some time to reconsider their positions by inviting EPA specialist David McIntosh to offer testimony before the committe on the agency's economic analyses of the pending climate legislation. When asked about the Republican concerns, McIntosh said that cost analysis already done on the legislation is "thorough and available" - as in some 300,000 pages worth.
Rhode Island Senator Sheldon Whitehouse had McInstosh address Republican's stated concerns point-by-point:
- Are current economic analyses enough? -Yes
- Won't a fresh study be obsolete the minute other committees change the bill? -Yes
To which Whitehouse ironcially concluded: "I find it a little hard to, under these circumstances, accept that the lack of an economic model is a legitimate reason or perhaps even an actual reason for our colleagues on the other side refusing to come to work."
Republican Lindsey Graham: "If you can't participate in solving a hard problem, why are you up here?"
Senator Sheldon Whitehouse: "The party of no has devolved into the party of no-show"
Republicans are "AWOL"