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Inhofe: EPW Maneuver ‘Signals the Death Knell for the Kerry-Boxer Bill’

To no one’s surprise, Republicans are reacting with indignation to the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee’s decision to override the GOP boycott and pass its climate bill this morning. Sen. James Inhofe (R-Okla.), the committee’s ranking Republican and driving force behind the boycott, just sent out a press release delivering a sharp rebuke to Chairman Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.):

I am deeply disappointed by Chairman Boxer’s decision to violate the rules and longstanding precedent of the committee. The Republicans offered a clear path forward to a bipartisan markup, but it was summarily rejected by Chairman Boxer. Instead, she decided to ignore the entreaties of all 6 ranking members from Senate committees with some share of jurisdiction over climate change legislation, as well as leading moderates in the Senate. Her action signals the death knell for the Kerry Boxer bill.

I’m not so sure Boxer violated the rules — by passing the bill without amendments, she would appear to have obviated the need for a quorum with GOP representation — though she certainly circumvented precedent. As for the “clear path forward to a bipartisan markup”: what Inhofe and his colleagues were demanding was a re-analysis of the bill by the EPA, after EPA officials insisted that a new analysis would be nearly identical to the previous one (which, by the way, was more thorough than any counterpart at this stage in the debate over previous climate legislation).

Elana Schor notes that Inhofe “seems to delight” in forcing Boxer’s hand, but the end result is that the legislation will now be molded by other committees and the Senate leadership, without input from Inhofe and his Republican EPW colleagues.

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