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Don’t hold your breath on Lieberman-Warner passing in 2008

By Joe Romm  

"Don’t hold your breath on Lieberman-Warner passing in 2008"

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no-retreat.jpgI can’t imagine anyone believing we would see 60 Senate votes this year for an unwatered-down climate bill.

The center-right folk want big compromises, like a poison pill safety valve (see below). But Sen. Boxer (D-CA) has little motivation to gut her legislation, since next year will probably bring more Senate Democrats and definitely bring a president who wants to take action, rather than one who has done everything in his power to block action and destroy the climate.

E&E News has a good article on this titled, “Lieberman-Warner floor strategy bothers some Senate swing votes” (regs. reqd):

Several senators holding critical swing votes on global warming legislation say they are disappointed with Democratic leadership’s plan to pull the bill from the floor if any “weakening” amendments are added to the bill.

“That doesn’t sound like a very encouraging way to start,” said Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska).

Murkowksi cosponsors a cap-and-trade proposal with Sens. Jeff Bingaman (D-N.M.) and Arlen Specter (R-Pa.) that takes a less aggressive stance on curbing heat-trapping emissions compared with the climate legislation due on the floor this June from Sens. Joe Lieberman (I-Conn.) and John Warner (R-Va.).

Among other things, Murkowski favors a “safety valve” provision in the Bingaman-Specter bill that places a price ceiling on the costs to industry for its carbon dioxide prices. “I think there’s some components in Bingaman-Specter that I’d like to see in Warner-Lieberman, and if they consider that ‘weakening,’ that’s going to make it tough,” Murkowski said.

On Wednesday, Senate Environment and Public Works Chairwoman Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.) outlined a floor strategy for the Lieberman-Warner bill “leveraged” by the prospects of a more friendly president and Congress in 2009. Boxer pledged to push for Senate passage this year, but she also gave an ultimatum if the bill was changed against her wishes.

“I’ll know it when I see it on the floor,” she told reporters when asked what qualifies as a “weakening” amendment.

A safety valve should be a deal-breaker. Then, of course, there is nuclear power:

Sen. Johnny Isakson (R-Ga.) voted against the Lieberman-Warner bill at the end of a December markup in the EPW Committee. But he also sent signals that he would be interested in supporting the measure if it included a significant nuclear title that created new rules on loan guarantees and improved confidence in waste storage.

In an interview yesterday, Isakson said he planned to offer a number of floor amendments that promote the expansion of new nuclear power plants — something Boxer no doubt opposes. “Nuclear is a strengthening amendment, not a weakening amendment,” Isakson said.

Maybe yes, maybe no. When Sen. McCain (R-AZ) squeezed nuclear into his climate bill, he lost 5 votes.

E&E News has an interesting breakdown of the likely votes in the Senate. Let me start with the fence sitters:

Lamar Alexander (Tenn.)
Sam Brownback (Kan.)
Robert Byrd (W.Va.)
Thad Cochran (Miss.)
Kent Conrad (N.D.)
Bob Corker (Tenn.)
Byron Dorgan (N.D.)
Lindsey Graham (S.C.)
Judd Gregg (N.H.)
Chuck Hagel (Neb.)
Mary Landrieu (La.)
Carl Levin (Mich.)
Mel Martinez (Fla.)
Lisa Murkowski (Alaska)
Ben Nelson (Neb.)
Mark Pryor (Ark.)
Gordon Smith (Ore.)
Arlen Specter (Pa.)
Ted Stevens (Alaska)
John Sununu (N.H.)
Jim Webb (Va.)

[E&E News does color coding for D or R -- non-subscribers can use Google.]

“Yes” votes:

Daniel Akaka (Hawaii)
Max Baucus (Mont.)
Joe Biden (Del.)
Jeff Bingaman (N.M.)
Barbara Boxer (Calif.)
Maria Cantwell (Wash.)
Ben Cardin (Md.)
Tom Carper (Del.)
Robert Casey (Pa.)
Hillary Rodham Clinton (N.Y.)
Norm Coleman (Minn.)
Susan Collins (Maine)
Chris Dodd (Conn.)
Elizabeth Dole (N.C.)
Dick Durbin (Ill.)
Russ Feingold (Wis.)
Dianne Feinstein (Calif.)
Tom Harkin (Iowa)
Daniel Inouye (Hawaii)
Tim Johnson (S.D.)
Ted Kennedy (Mass.)
John Kerry (Mass.)
Amy Klobuchar (Minn.)
Herbert Kohl (Wis.)
Frank Lautenberg (N.J.)
Patrick Leahy (Vt.)
Joe Lieberman (Conn.)
Richard Lugar (Ind.)
Robert Menendez (N.J.)
Barbara Mikulski (Md.)
Patty Murray (Wash.)
Bill Nelson (Fla.)
Barack Obama (Ill.)
Jack Reed (R.I.)
Harry Reid (Nev.)
Bernie Sanders (Vt.)
Chuck Schumer (N.Y.)
Olympia Snowe (Maine)
Debbie Stabenow (Mich.)
Jon Tester (Mont.)
John Warner (Va.)
Sheldon Whitehouse (R.I.)
Ron Wyden (Ore.)

Probable “Yes.”

Evan Bayh (Ind.)
Sherrod Brown (Ohio)
John McCain (Ariz.)
Claire McCaskill (Mo.)
Jay Rockefeller (W.Va.)
Blanche Lincoln (Ark.)
Ken Salazar (Colo.)

That’s another reason not to water this bill down — to force McCain to vote yes or no for a serious bill.

Probable “No” — all R’s, what a shock!

Richard Burr (N.C.)
Larry Craig (Idaho)
Michael Crapo (Idaho)
Pete Domenici (N.M.)
Charles Grassley (Iowa)
Orrin Hatch (Utah)
Johnny Isakson (Ga.)
Mitch McConnell (Ky.)
John Thune (S.D.)
George Voinovich (Ohio)
Roger Wicker (Miss.)

“No” — all R’s, who would have guessed?

Wayne Allard (Colo.)
Bob Bennett (Utah)
Kit Bond (Mo.)
Jim Bunning (Ky.)
Saxby Chambliss (Ga.)
Tom Coburn (Okla.)
John Cornyn (Texas)
Jim DeMint (S.C.)
John Ensign (Nev.)
Michael Enzi (Wyo.)
Kay Bailey Hutchison (Texas)
James Inhofe (Okla.)
Jon Kyl (Ariz.)
Pat Roberts (Kan.)
Jeff Sessions (Ala.)
Richard Shelby (Ala.)
David Vitter (La.)

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2 Responses to Don’t hold your breath on Lieberman-Warner passing in 2008

  1. Boxer was very clear that she wouldn’t see the failure to get 60 votes this year as a failure of the long-term battle to pass climate legislation, just a delay. She said if the bill only gets, say, 58 votes, we’ll know who those two Senators (whether Dem or GOP) were that helped kill the bill, and let voters make their own decisions in November based on that.

  2. Joe says:

    Exactly. Another reason not to water the bill down.