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Who’s to Blame for the Climate Bill Delay?

Democrats were quick to blame Republicans for their inability to gain 60 votes for a climate bill with a utility-only cap on greenhouse gas emissions. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.), in remarks to reporters at the Capitol today, said, “Unfortunately, at this time not one Republican wants to join us in achieving this goal. That isn’t just disappointing. It’s dangerous.”

And the left-leaning think tank, the Center for American Progress released this statement just a few minutes ago:

The Senate Republican leadership is responsible for the Senate’s inability to reduce global warming pollution. To help their big oil and big coal allies, they bullied many of their senators to avoid talks over a program that would create jobs, reduce oil use, and slash pollution. Due to Republican leaders inaction, China will continue to expand its clean energy industry and jobs, we will spend $1 billion each day on foreign oil, and power plants will spew billions of tons of pollution.

While it’s true that Democrats could not secure the Republican votes necessary to pass a bill with a cap on carbon, they couldn’t secure the vote of every Senate Democrat either. It takes just one look at Politico’s “whip count” to see that Democrats were far from in agreement on the issue.

Expect to hear more of this argument from Republicans as they combat criticism from Democrats about not voting for the bill. The first example came from Robert Dillion, spokesperson for Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska). During Reid’s press conference today, Dillon sent this message to reporters:

Will someone please ask the Majority Leader what his vote count is among his own caucus in support of climate legislation. Sen. Reid can try to blame Republicans all he wants. The truth is there are not enough Democrats on board to bring up climate legislation. Seriously, don’t you think if Reid had 59 Democrats that he would bring it up for a vote just to dare Republicans to vote no?

Sure enough, a reporter did ask Reid this question. But Reid dodged, asking instead, “What was your count?”

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