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November 4, 2009
Boxer Ostensibly Breaks Climate Bill Committee Rules Two Days Running (Update 2)
Apparently, rules don’t apply to zealots-with-gavels convinced they were put on this planet to secure its salvation.
Lacking a single occupied Republican seat in the room, Senate Environment and Public Works (EPW) Committee chair Barbara Boxer (D-CA) has nonetheless moved markup of the climate bill she cosponsors ahead for a second straight day. And in doing so, the ever-arrogant eco-crusader appears to be walking a thin green legal line.
Here’s the latest:
Sen. James Inhofe (R-OK) arrived at the EPW hearing room this morning to restate the GOP position that markup should be postponed pending comprehensive cost analysis. The ranking member delivered a brief speech and a copy of a letter to Boxer, responded to a few questions, and then exited the proceedings.
The letter, written yesterday by Sen. George Voinovich (R-OH) and addressed to Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Administrator Lisa Jackson, questioned the purpose of continued EPW briefings prior to completion of a full EPA cost analysis. Voinovich was the lone Republican to show up at yesterday’s hearings, where he delivered a similar message, adding that an earlier EPA study, which forecasts an $80 to $111 cost per average household, was incomplete and based on both a markedly different Bill (House passed Waxman-Markey) and “unrealistic assumptions.”
Before leaving the hearing this morning, Inhofe reiterated the need for both the committee and the public to be provided with a fair projection of the Bill’s costs prior to markup. And it was Boxer, who yesterday accused Republicans of “playing politics” to delay the legislation, Inhofe blamed for the holdup:
So here we are at the second day of Kerry-Boxer markup and the second day Boxer chose to proceed without GOP representation, despite committee rules requiring two members of the minority be present in order to provide a quorum for a markup.
It seems Boxer cited a “provision in the rules” she claims allows her to proceed as long as a majority of committee members are present. Not that I don’t trust her, although I most certainly do not, but I thought a quick trip over to the EPW rules site for a look-see was in order.
Now, according to Rule 2 of the committee rules: [my emphasis]
And it appears to be the language of subsection (d) that Boxer is attempting to play games with:
From a layman’s reading, one would surmise that although the bill can be reported out of committee with even less than a majority, at least 2 Republicans need be present to consider any amendments. In which case, Boxer’s decision to continue markup sessions without minority representation would be as illegal as it is unprecedented.
Interestingly enough, Boxer’s deployment of the “nuclear option,” as many Republicans are referring to it, didn’t seem to bother Sen. Lindsey Graham of South Carolina -- the first Republican to endorse the bill. He and Senators Lieberman and Kerry just finished discussing the Bill before cameras, yet Graham said nothing about the Democrats’ impropriety. As it was, after all, his inexplicable turncoat actions that enabled Democrats and the MSM to stamp the now meaningless label “bi-partisan” on this disastrous legislation, surely something should have been said about this breach in EPW rules.
Prior to gaveling out for today’s lunchtime recess, Boxer repeated numerous times that she intended to abide by the rules.
The question is: Whose rules – those of the committee or those of the climate-hysterics currently controlling it?
Time to play Name those RINOs.
Just received from EPW Minority Communications Director Matt Dempsey a copy of another letter written to EPA chief Jackson. This one is dated today and asks that the EPA immediately run the models on S. 1733 (Kerry-Boxer) as requested by Voinovich and ”provide the results to the public prior to any action in EPW.”
It is proudly signed by 4 “Republican” Senators who add:
Yet these four pillars of intellect will support this enormous and needless exercise in national (and finally international) wealth destruction and redistribution based on politically-tainted junk science and cost projections from Obama’s EPA.
Were none of these self-service pols paying attention to what happened yesterday in New Jersey and Virginia?
Lindsey Graham of South Carolina (202) 224-5972, Olympia Snowe (202) 224-5344 and Susan Collins (202) 224-2523 of Maine and Judd Gregg (202) 224-3324 of New Hampshire.
They're Bluffing - Dems say they'll report bill Tomorrow without GOP support
It appears my reading of Boxer’s end-game being a play on subsection (d) was on target.
E&E News is reporting (H/T Matt Dempsey) that Democrats are “preparing to report out global warming legislation Thursday morning under an expedited fashion without considering any amendments.”
Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse (D-R.I.) admitted that he doesn’t “know a way to take up an amendment without two Republicans present” under committee rules.
So if the bill is to be sent to the floor by a Democrats-only quorum, it will be as currently written. Have to imagine there’s more than one Democrat on the committee not too pleased with the prospect of not having their amendments added.
But by carrying out this unprecedented maneuver, Boxer would effectively kill any possibility of Republican floor votes – even from the RINOS. And probably lose a boatload of level-headed Democrats to boot.
Is it simply that Boxer’s afraid of the effect the awaited EPA scoring will have on the committee vote or does she simply want to be sure it’s reported out before Copenhagen? Or is she delusional enough to believe Dems can actually fast-track some form of climate bill prior to Copenhagen?
Or is this nothing more than a committee queen’s gambit to entice Republicans back to the table?
Boxer said she’ll announce her plans at 9 a.m. tomorrow.