Monday, June 02, 2008

Historic Debate Begins On Lieberman-Warner Climate Security Act

Jun 2: At approximately 2:00 PM this afternoon, the Senate began the highly anticipated historic debate on the Lieberman-Warner Climate Security Act of 2008 (now S. 3036 substitute for S. 2191) [See WIMS 5/21/08]. The cloture motion reads in part, "We, the undersigned Senators, in accordance with the provisions of rule XXII of the Standing Rules of the Senate, hereby move to bring to a close debate on the motion to proceed to Calendar No. 742, S. 3036, the Lieberman-Warner Climate Security Act of 2008: Barbara Boxer, Richard Durbin, Benjamin L. Cardin, Charles E. Schumer, Sheldon Whitehouse, Bill Nelson, Amy Klobuchar, Dianne Feinstein, Joseph Lieberman, Daniel K. Akaka, Christopher J. Dodd, Tom Harkin, Daniel K. Inouye, Max Baucus, Ron Wyden, Robert P. Casey, Jr., Harry Reid."

As offered by Senate Majority Leader, Harry Reid (D-NV), "I now ask unanimous consent that the cloture vote occur on Monday, June 2, at 5:30 p.m., that the time between 4:30 and 5:30 be equally divided and controlled between the leaders or their designees, and the mandatory quorum be waived." Senator Inhofe (R-OK) indicated the debate may take several days or even weeks. The vote this evening is basically a procedural vote to proceed with the debate which is expected to pass.

Senator Barbara Boxer (D-CA) delivered last weeks Democratic Radio Address and also held a press briefing along with Senators Lieberman and Warner preceding the Senate debate. In her remarks she indicated, ". . .the Senate will begin debate on one of the most important issues of our time -- global warming. Senators have come together across party lines to write a law that will not only enable us to avoid the ravages of unchecked global warming, but will create millions of new jobs and put us on the path to energy independence. Other benefits of our legislation will be cleaner air, energy efficiency, relief for consumers and the alternative energy choices that American families deserve. And, by acting wisely, America will regain the leadership we have lost these past seven years.

"There are some in the Senate who insist that global warming is nothing more than science fiction. These are the same kind of voices who said that the world was flat, cigarettes were safe and cars didn’t need airbags – long after the rest of us knew the truth. The fact is that the overwhelming majority of scientists say that the earth is in peril if we don’t act now. They’ve told us clearly that more than 40 percent of God’s creatures could face extinction if we don’t act now. They’ve told us of more intense weather events if we don’t act now. Health experts have told us that infectious diseases will increase due to warmer waters. And military leaders have told us that unchecked global warming will lead to severe conflict and war as droughts, floods and rising sea levels create huge numbers of desperate refugees. . ."

Senator Mitch McConnell (R-KY), Senate Republican Leader, opened the debate with a floor statement saying, "that for American consumers, the Boxer bill is all cost and no benefit. There is a better way to move forward. Climate change is a serious issue, and we should continue taking action to address it, as we did in last year’s energy bill. But the way to proceed is to invest in clean energy technologies that allow us to reduce greenhouse gas emissions without harming our economy, sending jobs overseas, and raising energy prices across the board for U.S. workers, families, farmers, and truckers. . .

"I will be voting in favor of cloture on the motion to proceed, and it’s my expectation that once we get on the bill, the Majority will allow for amendments, and for what I expect will be a rather robust debate on the merits of this climate tax legislation.”

Senator Barbara Boxer released an update of supporters of the bill listing various major businesses, entrepreneurs, government leaders, labor, environment, and sportsmen's organizations are expressing strong support for action in the "Boxer, Lieberman, Warner" Substitute to the Lieberman/Warner Climate Security Act. The release included links to letters and statements from the groups and organizations and will be updated as additional letters are submitted.

Major businesses included on the initial listing were: Alcoa; Avista Corporation; Calpine Corporation; Constellation Energy; E2; Entergy Corporation; Exelon Corporation; FPL Group; General Electric; National Grid; NRG Energy Inc.; PG&E Corporation; and Public Service Enterprise Group.

The Administration issued a lengthy Statement of Administration Policy on the bill and said S. 3036 and the Boxer Amendment is the "wrong way" to address climate change and the President would veto the bill.

Access legislative details on S. 3036 with links to the Congressional Record (
click here). Access the floor vote details as they become available (click here). Access the opening statement of Senator Mitch McConnell (click here). Access the update of supporters and links from Senator Boxer (click here). Access a release on the sponsors press briefing with links to related information (click here). Access a statement of Administration Policy on the bill (click here). Access Senator Inhofe's website on the bill (click here). [*Climate, *Energy]