Wednesday, November 04, 2009

Republicans Continue Boycott Of Kerry-Boxer (S. 1733) Markup

Nov 4: Ranking Member of the Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works (EPW), Senator James Inhofe (R-OK), made a brief appearance as the only Republican before the Committee and reiterated the same Republican request for a complete economic analysis of S. 1733 before proceeding with the scheduled markup of the bill. Following his statement, Senator Inhofe left the meeting [See WIMS 10/3/09].

In part, Senator Inhofe said, "Madam Chairman, I want to be very clear about what the Republicans want: we want a markup of this bill. And we have a pathway to get there, if only we had your cooperation. That's why I'm here today. Madam Chairman, this is in your hands now. I have the letter Sen. Voinovich wrote to Administrator Jackson yesterday. This letter outlines exactly what we're looking for. It outlines the agreement Sen. Voinovich has with EPA. EPA can start today to complete this analysis. But Madam Chairman, the way we see it, you are standing in the way. So I'm asking you this morning to work with us; let EPA do its analysis, so we can get to a markup. It's really that simple. Madam Chairman, choosing the other course would be unwise. Choosing to set aside the committee's longstanding rules would jeopardize our ability to work together on other issues. Again, I'm asking you not to violate the committee rules. You and I have a lot of work to do: the highway bill, the WRDA bill, and many others. We can't render the EPW Committee irrelevant."

Following Senator Inhofe's departure, the remaining Democratic members commented on the Republican position and reiterated that U.S. EPA had testified yesterday (November 3) that the extensive economic analysis that has been prepared to date, based on economic models, would not change significantly if it were rerun. Additionally, it was indicated that the energy portion of the bill that was previously passed out of the Senate Energy & Natural Resources (ENR) Committee, Chaired by Senator Jeff Bingaman (D-NM) in June [
See WIMS 6/17/09] was not subject to any economic modeling. It is the Democratic leadership plan to combine Kerry-Boxer, following markup; with the ENR-passed energy bill, and then complete a new economic modeling analysis. Republicans are insistent that the analysis be done now and have refused to participate unless it is completed at this point in the process.

Chairman Boxer indicated that the EPW Committee will continue meeting and will be briefed by staff on the Kerry-Boxer bill until the Republican members return to the Committee for the markup. The meeting was recessed until 3:00 PM. A briefing resumed at 3:00 PM.

Access the hearing website for a webcast (
click here). Access Senator Inhofe's statement (click here). Access the statement from Senator Voinovich which details the Republican demands (click here).