Tuesday, June 21, 2005

Debate on McCain-Lieberman

I'll of course stay tuned to any developments on Bolton (and post them here), but want to switch tacks briefly to comment some more on the energy bill debate in the Senate. Over the course of the day today, the Senate rejected an amendment by Senator Bill Nelson (FL) which would have stricken from the energy bill "the section providing for a comprehensive inventory of Outer Continental Shelf oil and natural gas resources." This allows for exploration for oil and gas in offshore areas, and was opposed by 44 senators (largely from coastal states).

The "baby step" amendment on climate change, offered by Chuck Hagel and Mark Pryor, passed 66-29 [roll call here]. While I don't feel this measure goes nearly far enough, because it does little to actually combat climate change, I'll take a baby step over nothing any day. It certainly won't do any harm to "
provide government subsidies for industries to develop better technologies to reduce emissions," as Hagel-Pryor would do.

But we must do more. Following the vote on Hagel's measure, John McCain took the floor to introduce the amendment he's backing, along with Senator Joe Lieberman. I'll post a link to his full statement as soon as it becomes available, but he's making a very strong case for taking serious, adult steps forward to reduce emissions today. As he did on Sunday's "Meet the Press," McCain makes the case this way: even if climate change turns out to not happen (although that goes against the overwhelming scientific evidence today) and we acted, what do we have? A cleaner earth and a more stable environment.

Following McCain, his co-sponsor Joe Lieberman called global warming "the challenge of our generation." He wonders "will the political leadership of this country take the steps necessary to protect generations to follow from the worst effects of global warming?"

Will keep following the debate this evening and post updates as necessary; a vote on McCain-Lieberman will be held sometime tomorrow morning.

[Update: Feinstein also spoke strongly in favor of McCain-Lieberman; the Durbin apology disrupted things for a little while, and then Senator Inhofe spoke in opposition to the amendment. It's a good thing I hadn't eaten dinner yet. Not surprisingly, Inhofe still has his head in the sand, refusing to admit that global warming exists, and suggested that even if it does, it's not human-caused. We'll hear more from him tomorrow, undoubtedly. -- 6:20 p.m.]

[Update: Mike Enzi of Wyoming also spoke on the McCain-Lieberman amendment tonight; he's another "head in the sand"er. He made the head-shakingly strange argument that this amendment should be defeated because it doesn't do anything about emissions from "developing nations" like China and India. It wasn't entirely clear just how he intended to pass anything that did do something about emissions from those places. Enzi went on to say "Unless we engage the developing world any reductions" the United States makes won't matter on a global scale. I certainly agree with that sentiment, and hope Mike Enzi will take his point of view directly down Pennsylvania Avenue and persuade the president of the need for exactly that sort of engagement.

Debate on McCain-Lieberman is going to continue tomorrow, apparently in and amongst other amendments. There will be a final vote on M-L sometime Wednesday afternoon. -- 8:02 p.m.]


At 5:32 PM, Anonymous Stygius said...

Have any Republicans made the motion to reconsider the cloture motion vote?

At 5:37 PM, Anonymous Stygius said...

Never mind that. I had to get my crooked knowledge of the Rules straight.


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