Climate Bill Passes Senate Committee Amid GOP Boycott, Baucus Opposition


A major climate change bill passed out of the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee amid a Republican boycott this morning, setting the stage for other panels to amend the legislation. The final vote was 11-1. Sen. Max Baucus (D-MT)–whose Senate Finance Committee probably have its own crack at the bill–was the lone hold out. No Republicans showed up to vote.

Baucus says he wants near-term emissions targets softened, and to prevent the Environmental Protection Agency from stepping in to regulate carbon emissions on its own, pursuant to a 2007 Supreme Court ruling.

After the vote, ranking member James Inhofe (R-OK) appeared on Fox News and, in predictable fashion, lambasted the legislation, calling the committee’s actions “unprecedented.” He also claimed that the bill is “dead.”

Chair Barbara Boxer wasn’t nearly so glum.

“We found, after questioning the EPA extensively, that the Republicans’ demand for another EPA analysis now would be duplicative and a waste of taxpayer dollars,” Boxer said.

The absence of the Republicans during the EPA’s presentation was a clear message that their criticism of the EPA analysis was not a substantive one….

We are pleased that despite the Republican boycott, we have been able to move the bill.

Editor’s note: This post originally had the vote as 10 to 1, with Sen. Tom Carper (D-DE) not present. But Carper did show up, although late, and voted to pass the bill out of committee, making the vote 11 to 1. The post has been updated.


Brian Beutler is TPM's senior congressional reporter. Since 2009, he's led coverage of health care reform, Wall Street reform, taxes, the GOP budget, the government shutdown fight and the debt limit fight. He can be reached at