Tuesday, June 21, 2005

Domenici Backpedals

After indications over the weekend that key Republican Pete Domenici might back a climate change amendment to the energy bill, the senator retreated from that position Monday, according to a report in Tuesday's LA Times. "[U]ltimately, Domenici said he could not resolve questions about the amendment in time to include it in the energy bill, which the Senate is debating," saying "This is just too tough to do quickly."

Domenici's New Mexico colleague, Jeff Bingaman, expressed "disappointment" that Domenici wouldn't be co-sponsoring the amendment, but pledged to push forward with the plan anyway. His proposal would "establish a cap on industrial releases of greenhouse gases to slow their accumulation in the atmosphere, but would not begin to reduce them until 2020 at the earliest." Passage would mark the first government action against climate change.

Debate on the Bingaman amendment, as well as the more stringent McCain-Lieberman version and a voluntary-reduction proposal from Chuck Hagel, could be brought up in the Senate at any point during the day today for debate and possible votes.

The loss of Domenici's prospective support is a shame, since it may keep even the modest Bingaman language from passage. The White House's implacability on this issue is showing through loud and clear, as the Bush Administration and radicals in the Senate continue to keep their heads firmly stuck in the sand, refusing to deal with climate change.

I don't want to sound too negative though; there's still hope that either McCain-Lieberman (unlikely, unfortunately) or Bingaman (possible) will be able to patch together a majority when the votes are called.


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