GOP senators talk of boycotting climate bill

Associated Press and Associated Press

WASHINGTON – A threatened Republican boycott of a Senate committee’s consideration of climate legislation is exposing the sharp partisan divide over a Democratic proposal to combat global warming.

Republicans for the most part plan to stay away from a meeting of the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee yesterday as the panel begins deliberations over legislation that would cap greenhouse gases from power and industrial plants and curb the use of fossil fuels.

Democrats have a 12-7 majority in the committee and enough votes to advance the measure to the full Senate. But GOP members are demanding additional studies on the cost and job impact of the bill, arguing that an analysis by the Environmental Protection Agency was inadequate. The EPA study projected it would cost average households no more than $111 a year.

On Monday, the ranking Republicans on five other committees that will have some say in climate legislation also called the EPA analysis unsatisfactory and said senators should not be expected to vote on a bill ‘without a full and complete analysis of the likely effects.’

The Republicans warned in a letter to Sen. Barbara Boxer, D-Calif., the environment committee chairman, that failure to accommodate GOP senators seeking further studies ‘would severely damage rather than help’ the chances of getting the bipartisan support needed to get a bill through the Senate.