Boxer Slows Cap-And-Trade Markup, Implores GOP To Return To The Table

Sen. Barbara Boxer (D-CA) said this evening she plans to fight Republican plans to slow the process of the cap-and-trade bill through the Senate with “patience.”

“We’re going to wait for them to come,” she said at a press conference. “We’re not going to rush this through.”

Last week, the Republican members of the Environment and Public Works Committee Boxer chairs said they would boycott a markup of the the cap-and-trade bill scheduled for tomorrow. Led by committee ranking member Sen. James Inhofe (R-OK), the GOP contingent on the committee say they need more time to review the law and it’s potential economic effects.

Their plans to delay the bill appear to have succeeded. Faced with the GOP plan, Boxer said the Democratic majority on the committee decided to “reach our hand across the aisle” and accommodate some of the GOP concerns.Boxer will begin the markup as planned Tuesday, but will extend the deadline for amendments until “the close of business” that day, allowing Republicans who have boycotted the process to participate past the original deadline.

In addition, Boxer said she’ll pause the markup process tomorrow afternoon and invite an EPA official to come before the committee and answer any and all remaining questions about the cap-and-trade bill Republicans may have.

Boxer characterized the moves as magnanimous, aimed at offering a hand of friendship to Republicans who say they need more time to process the bill. She said the plan was agreed upon among all the Democrats sit on the environmental panel she chairs.

But one of those Democrats who joined her at the podium this evening seemed less interested in mending fences with upset Republicans.

“I’m a little less gracious than Barbara Boxer — I believe you have to tell it like it is,” Sen. Frank Lautenberg (D-NJ) said of the boycotters. “It’s almost like they’re school children over there.”

Lautenberg said that Republicans were afraid to hold a vote on the bill, which he said would feature them voting against the environmental reforms like carbon emission capping Lautenberg claimed most Americans favor.

“Stop the nonsense, Dr. No’s,” he said. “This is not going to help our world.”

Inhofe’s office did not respond to a request for comment, and Republicans on the committee have not said if their plans for tomorrow have changed in light of Boxer’s new concessions.