On warming, relations between GOP, Dems stay cool

There's no era of post-partisanship to be found in the Senate's debate over global warming.

Published February 4, 2009 4:00PM (EST)

WASHINGTON -- If you didn’t get the hint that the “post-partisan” era hasn’t quite arrived when every single House Republican voted against the stimulus bill despite glad-handing by President Obama, just check out global warming.

Democrats on the Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works held a press conference on Tuesday stressing the need for bi-partisan support for global-warming legislation.

“We are working with the minority side, painstakingly, one Senator at a time,” said Sen. Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.), who chairs the committee.

Boxer and her colleagues outlined their “principles” for legislation to fight global warming. Boxer gave few specifics about the content of the legislation, but did say that it would adhere to cap-and-trade principles to combat carbon emissions. The California Democrat said that she believed bipartisan support was possible for this new version of a cap-and-trade bill that failed to pass the Senate last year.

Not a single GOP member of the committee attended. Sen. Frank Lautenberg’s (D-N.J.) remarks may have shown why. “It is in this very room where skepticism prevailed, where it was said that global warming was the greatest hoax perpetrated on the American people,” Lautenberg said, referring to Republicans on the committee. “What an outrage.”

Lautenberg then signaled that he is completely willing to work with Republicans -- but he's perfectly happy to steamroll right over them as well. “Our task is to improve the environmental condition and... to bring those who will come from the other political side over,” Lautenberg said. Then he quickly added, “And if they don’t come over, so be it. Let them stand out there and shriek about the fact that jobs are being lost without considering what they want for their own families.”

Later in the day, the ranking Republican on the committee, Oklahoma's James Inhofe, issued a statement rejecting the principles the Democrats had outlined.

By Christopher Matthews

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Barbara Boxer D-calif. Global Warming