Boxer Overrides GOP Boycott, Advances Climate Bill
Democrats on the Environment and Public Works Committee on Thursday voted to send the climate and energy bill from Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.) and John Kerry (D-Mass.) out of committee without amending it—thus overriding the Republican boycott of the markup.
According to committee rules, two members of the minority need to be present in order to begin marking up the bill. So the Democrats took advantage of a rule that allows them to simply report a bill out of committee with a simple majority vote, bypassing the markup altogether. It passed by 11 to 1. "It's unfortunate we had to go the route we did, but the Senate can't be paralyzed," said Boxer after the vote. "We did what we had to do."
The only Democrat to vote against advancing the unamended bill was Max Baucus (D-Mont.). He outlined two specific areas that he had wanted to change—lowering the 2020 emissions reduction target to 17 percent, with the ability to raise it back to 20 percent if other nations follow suit, and adjustments to the agricultural provisions. But Baucus affirmed that he will work with others in the Senate to "get climate change legislation that can get 60 votes."