Posted By Marc Morano - Marc_Morano@EPW.Senate.Gov - 11:55 AM ET  

Boxer's Rejection of More Time for Climate Bill Rings False

WASHINGTON, DC - At today's Environment and Public Works Committee hearing, several Senators called for more time to review and analyze the economic impacts of the Lieberman-Warner global warming cap-and-trade bill. Senator Barbara Boxer (D-CA), the chair of EPW, rejected such calls saying no more time or analysis was needed to mark up the bill (S.2191).

But during the 2005 Clear Skies bill debate (S.131), Democrat Senators consistently called for more time, more analysis and a delayed mark up, despite having significantly more time and analysis of Clear Skies than is now available on the Lieberman-Warner climate bill. The Democrats called for more time during the Clear Skies debate despite the fact that Bush Administration provided the Committee with more than 10,000 pages worth of modeling on air quality, costs, job impacts, fuel switching, and deaths avoided for the various proposals. The EPW Committee had more data on Clear Skies in 2005 than they had when they passed the Clean Air Act Amendments of 1990 out of Committee.

Senator James Inhofe (R-Okla.), Ranking Member of EPW, responded to comments made at today's hearing on the Lieberman-Warner bill.

"It is disingenuous to claim no more analysis or study is necessary to fully understand the impacts of the Lieberman-Warner bill," Senator Inhofe said today. "When the GOP was in charge of EPW, we provided significantly more analysis, data and time to examine the Clear Skies legislation. It is unfortunate that a bill this important, this costly, would be pushed through the Committee process without any real examination simply to score political points at a UN conference. I think Americans deserve more from Congress."

Sampling of comments from Senators in 2005 urging more time for adequate review during the Clear Skies debate:

Senator Boxer on March 9, 2005 EPW Business Meeting to consider S.131 "Clear Skies Act of 2005:" "I would ask unanimous consent to place into the record a letter that was written by [Senators] Tom Carper, Max Baucus, Lincoln Chaffee, and Barack Obama...and the point here is that the analysis that they ask for which is a side by side of what each major bill, Senator Jeffords bill and the committee bill and Senator Carper/Chafee bill be analyzed side by side. We're still waiting!... We don't have what we need to have."

Senator Thomas R. Carper (D-DE) on January 26, 2005: "I am concerned about reports saying that the White House and Senate Republicans want to move Clear Skies quickly and without fully engaging Democrats about what is best for the country. If the approach to moving this bill is going to be `'my way or the highway'' then we're going to end up in a traffic jam. I hope we can work through our differences and produce legislation that will improve our air quality in a cost-effective way."

Senator Carper on February 16, 2005: "Let me first of all applaud the decision that you've made today, it's a constructive step to give us the time to really sit down and discuss its principles, what we want to do and what we need to do to find common ground..."

Senator Max Baucus (D-MT) on February 2, 2005: "A rush to mark-up [Clear Skies], without laying any foundation for a bi-partisan compromise to take to the floor, is not a strategy for success. This is frustrating because I want a good bill. It's the right thing to do and I think we can get it done. Mr. Chairman, let's set this Committee up to succeed. I think we're close on so many issues but the process needs time work itself out. Let's give it that time to see what can be done. It will be time well spent and I think it will only help this bill's prospects going forward.

Senator James Jeffords (I-VT) on March 9, 2005: "I appreciate the time you have given us over the past weeks to discuss moving forward. Most of the members would agree that we would need more time, more information from EPA, and better understanding of actual impact these proposals would have on human health and the environment."

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