04 June 2008 23:10 [Source: ICIS news]
WASHINGTON (ICIS news)--Republican members of the US Senate objected to a debate on a climate change bill on Wednesday, arguing they had not had time to review changes offered to the substantive legislation.
Majority Leader Harry Reid, (Democrat-Nevada), introduced an amendment to the climate change bill offered by Barbara Boxer (Democrat-California), chair of the Environment and Public Works Committee.
But Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (Republican-Kentucky) objected to a motion by Reid to dispense with reading the entire bill aloud in the Senate chamber in protest of Democrat's failure to move forward on judicial nominations by President George Bush. Democrats then suspended debate rather than read the 500-page bill.
Republicans later said they did not have time to review the newly amended bill because they received it only just Wednesday morning.
"While the reading of the entire Boxer Climate Tax Bill is the result of the Democrats' handling of judicial nominations, it is important to note that the version of the Boxer substitute that Majority Leader Reid introduced was a new version not seen by the minority until this morning, contrary to Senator Boxer's assertions," said James Inhofe (Republican-Oklahoma), ranking member of the Environment and Public Works Committee.
"This new version, the fourth version in the last two weeks, underscores the not-ready-for-prime-time aspect of this legislation," Inhofe said.
Republicans said they are willing to debate the Boxer bill after the Senate settles the issue of judicial nominations. They argue, however, that the bill would force businesses to raise prices and cut jobs due to the costs of complying with the climate change bill. The bill would cap greenhouse gas emissions through setting up a trading programme for emission credits.
Boxer, who introduced the bill with Joseph Lieberman (Independent-Connecticut) and John Warner (Republican-Virginia), said the revised bill offered on Wednesday made only technical changes requested by the Congressional Budget Office (CBO).
A CBO analysis suggested an emissions cap would raise gasoline prices, but Boxer disputed any significant increase would result from the bill. She accused Republicans of blocking debate on the bill due to the allegiance to oil companies.
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