The Senate voted down, by 53 to 47, a GOP proposal to strip the
Environmental Protection Agency of its ability to block carbon
emissions. Senator Lisa Murkowski of Alaska presented the proposal and
was joined by six Democrats. The vote on Thursday reveals not just how
Republicans and Democrats are approaching energy and climate-change
politics, but how those politics will translate into policy.
Fight for Climate Change Bill The New York Times' Carl Hulse explains, "The
fight was mainly symbolic because the prospects for the resolution were
bleak even had the Senate passed it. It would have then required a
majority vote in the House and the approval of President Obama, who has
already threatened to veto it. But it provided a showcase for a Senate
fight over global warming as well as an indicator of where lawmakers
could be expected to come down on legislation aimed at carbon emissions.
The near-even division among lawmakers showed that a 60-vote
supermajority on climate change legislation remains elusive."
- Shows Poor Prospects for Progress The Washington Post's Juliet Elperin sighs, "the 47 to 53 vote showed that even
in the wake of the massive oil spill
in the Gulf of Mexico, Congress remains divided over how best to address
climate change. The contentious debate, in which some lawmakers
suggested federal regulation would strike a devastating blow to the
economy, suggested the Senate is far from decided on whether to put a
price on the industrial emissions that stem from everyday activities
such as lighting a home or driving a car."
- Why 6 Dems Voted
With GOP The New Republic's Brad Plumer writes, "The line
from most of these folks is that they want Congress, rather than the
EPA, to take the lead on global warming. Trouble is, many of them won't
vote for a climate bill, either. There's a bonus irony in Bayh taking
this stance, given that he's retiring from the Senate because
he thinks the chamber is too dysfunctional to tackle the biggest
issues facing the country."
- Murkoski 'Won The War' Against
Climate Bill The Washington Post's Ezra Klein sighs, "though
Murkowski might have lost the vote, it looks like she won the war: It's
hard to see a strong climate bill getting 60 votes in a Senate where her
bill got 47. And Reid had to make a lot of tough promises in order to
beat the Murkowski bill back -- including giving a vote to Jay
Rockefeller's bill to delay EPA action for two years."
- Just the Beginning of This Debate? The New Republic's Brad Plumer writes, "Harry
Reid had to cut a few deals to prevent even more conservative Dems from
voting for the resolution. One thing he promised was a vote (sometime
down the road) on a bill by Jay Rockefeller that would delay all EPA
regulations on industrial polluters for at least two years. That bill
wouldn't be nearly as drastic as Murkowski's resolution ... But it does
have a much better chance of passing. So this debate will be going on
for quite some time."
- ...Or Just a 'Stupid' Sideshow?
Grist's David Roberts scoffs, "What
does the Murkowski vote 'mean'? It means the Senate is a dysfunctional
institution and the climate movement in the U.S. is fatally weak. What
does it mean for the climate and energy bill that's coming in July? Not
much. That vote will be determined by the shape of the bill, the state
of the economy, and the level of public anger on the oil spill. This was
just a sideshow, a waste of everyone's time and energy."
Want to add to this story? Let us know in comments
or send an email to the author at
mfisher at theatlantic dot com.
You can share ideas for stories on the Open Wire.