High-heels and cowboy boots. Fast-talker and steady drawl. One’s a liberal California Democrat; the other a conservative Oklahoma Republican.
In the world of Senate committee leadership, Environment and Public Works Chairwoman Barbara Boxer and ranking member James M. Inhofe are about as far apart on the political spectrum as you can get, although they do get along on a personal level, according to aides.
But their dissimilar tastes on policy issues, and pretty much everything else, does cause problems, especially in the committee, where they often brawl over global warming and energy issues.
But those fights haven’t stopped the two from teaming up to cosponsor and push major water legislation (S 1005) this year. The bill would authorize $39.2 billion for a variety of programs, including $20 billion over five years for low-interest loans and grants to local communities for construction of wastewater treatment facilities,
Their Senate measure is somewhat similar to a bill (HR 1262) passed by the House two months ago. Boxer has scheduled a mark up in the Environment and Public Works Committee for Thursday, and chances for passage of the Senate version are pretty good.
It wouldn’t be fair to suggest that the two senators haven’t cooperated on other legislation. They’ve been cosponsors on 10 measures so far this Congress, but not on a piece of legislation introduced directly by one or the other.