Inhofe accuses Boxer of breaking committee rules in passing climate bill

The Senate Enviromental and Public Works Comittee's ranking member on Thursday accused chairwoman Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.) of breaking the panel's rules by passing climate change legislation this morning.

Sen. Jim Inhofe (R-Okla.) today on Fox News said that committee rules dictate that at least two members of the minority must be present when meeting. Boxer held a vote on the legislation, which passed 10-1, but no Republicans were present for the vote.

Republican members of the committee have been boycotting the hearings all week because the legislation has not yet been scored by the Environmental Protection Agency.

"That was unprecendented, I think the bill is dead," Inhofe told Fox.

In a statement, Inhofe said he is "deeply disappointed by Chairman Boxer's decision to violate the rules and longstanding precedent of the committee."

He added that "she decided to ignore the entreaties of all 6 ranking members from Senate committees with some share of jurisdiction over climate change legislation, as well as leading moderates in the Senate.  Her action signals the death knell for the Kerry Boxer bill."

Boxer previously responded to GOP concerns in a letter to the committee's Republicans, saying that the EPA had deemed a separate bill analysis sufficient and that EPA staffers would be available to answer Republican concerns.

"I want to point out that Republican members of the House fully participated in the Waxman-Markey climate change bill mark-up, even though a five-week analysis on the bill under consideration was not undertaken until after the bill was voted out of Committee," she added. 

"Of course, we will follow the rules of the Committee and the Senate as we proceed."