UPDATE: Senate Votes Thursday on Murkowski’s Dirty Air Act
By Miryam Ehrlich Williamson
At 3:52 pm ET Thursday, the Senate rejected Lisa Murkowski’s bid to reject the science that says fossil fuels contribute to greenhouse gases and global warming, harming the public health and well being, thus gutting the EPA and the Clean Air Act. The vote that killed SJR 26– technically on the question of whether to proceed with a vote on the resolution — was 47 Yeas (to vote on it) 53 Nays (to, in effect, kill it.)
Six Democrats joined the Republicans in voting to consider the resolution. No Republicans voted against consideration.
Democrats who supported the resolution were Bayh (IN), Landrieu (LA), Lincoln (AR), Nelson (NE), Pryor (AR) and Rockefeller (WV).
This Thursday, June 10, the Senate will take up Lisa Murkowski’s resolution designed to gut the Clean Air Act and strip the Environmental Protection Agency of much of its power. As a resolution, rather than a bill, SJR 26 needs only a majority to pass. No filibusters, no cloture votes, nothing to stop it from coming to a vote. Clever woman, that senator from Big Oil Alaska.
Here’s how the Congressional Research Service, a well-respected nonpartisan arm of the Library of Congress, summarizes the resolution:
Disapproves the rule submitted by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) on December 15, 2009, relating to the endangerment finding and the cause or contribute findings for greenhouse gases under the Clean Air Act.
Say what? Murkowski wants the Senate to go on record saying EPS is wrong to declare that fossil fuels endanger the public health and welfare by causing or contributing to greenhouse gases? What rational legislator would agree to that?
Forty-one of them, actually. That’s how many are cosponsoring this gift to the oil and coal industries. Is your senator one of them? Look here (you’ll have to click on the “show cosponsors” button next to Murkowski’s name) and then see where they rank on Open Secrets’s list of top recipients of campaign contributions from the oil and gas industry and electric utilities.
I’m not ascribing motives or anything, but really….
Lest the Congressional Research Service’s description be too obscure, here’s how Environment Massachusetts puts it
Sen. Murkowski’s resolution would block new Clean Air Act rules, which we fought hard to put in place for nearly a decade, requiring cars and light trucks to use less oil and pollute less. It also would block many additional steps to reduce America’s dependence on oil and other fossil fuels, including standards announced by President Obama in the Rose Garden just two weeks ago.
If it’s passed, the resolution is binding on the Senate. I’d like the predict the vote will be 58-42 against it, but I can’t. I don’t have a feel for this one.
Meanwhile, over in the House, Rep. Joe Barton (R-Tx6) has introduced a similar resolution. HJR 77 has 110 cosponsors. And Rep. Jerry Moran (R-KS1) has HJR 66 in the hopper; it looks almost identical to 77 and has three sponsors. You can click on “show cosponsors” on either link to see if yours is one.
I’m a little more optimistic about the House resolutions because they’re still in committee, and the majority of bills before House committees never get reported out.
Coincidentally, the proportion of cosponsors in the House neatly matches that of cosponsors in the Senate (42%). That leaves 58% of each body not signed on and still presumed to have an IQ larger than their shoe size.
I don’t see President Obama signing such legislation. But not all of the cosponsors are Republicans. I don’t see President Bipartisanship Uber Alles walking into a situation where his veto of a “bipartisan” bill comes up for an override vote, either.
So in addition to calling your senators and expressing your opinion of Murkowski’s Dirty Air Act, you might want to stick pins in voodoo dolls named for the House resolutions and hope they never get out of committee.
Or maybe the Senate will vote to tell Murkowski what she can do with her binding resolution, and we’ll all be able to breathe easier. Literally.