McConnell ‘Excited’ About Climate Debate

Posted June 3, 2008 at 12:18pm

Senate Republicans continued Tuesday to put Democrats on the defensive on environmental issues, which have traditionally been a political boon for their party.

In anticipation of the global warming debate set to begin Wednesday, GOP Senators have gone after the bill to reduce greenhouse gases by 80 percent in 2050 sponsored by Sens. Joe Lieberman (ID-Conn.) and John Warner (R-Va.). They contend that the debate comes at a bad time amid soaring gas prices.

Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) told reporters Tuesday morning that he is “excited” about debating the environment bill, and he contended it would raise gasoline prices at the beginning of the summer season. Along with the bill being ill-timed, McConnell criticized the Democratic proposal as a backward solution to reducing prices at the pump.

“We’re excited about this. We’re amazed that they’re bringing up this bill at this time,” McConnell emphasized. “We’re happy about this debate.”

Meanwhile, Democrats have seemingly treaded softly on the climate legislation, moving slowly as they face internal divisions on how to proceed.

Pressed by reports as to how Democrats would move on the climate legislation, Sen. Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.) chairman of the Environment and Public Works Committee, blamed Republicans for their debate on the bill.

In fact, it appeared that Boxer grew annoyed with reporters and stormed off to the Senate floor to take over debate on the legislation from her California colleague, Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D). Boxer repeated her call that Republicans are stalling action on the bill, indicating that there would have to be another vote to proceed in order to move on the legislation.

During a Tuesday morning press conference, Boxer seemingly acknowledged that there is opposition not only from Republicans, but also from within her own party. She said her primary role in the discussion thus far has been to conduct meetings on proposal to broker a compromise.

“I can’t make people vote a certain way … People will vote with their conscience. I’m just one Senator,” Boxer said.