By Molly K. Hooper - 12/20/09 10:20 PM EST
The House GOP lawmakers on Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s delegation to Copenhagen
pulled no punches in their criticism of plans to curb carbon emissions.
According to the climate-change skeptics, there is no appetite in the United States for a “cap-and-trade scheme,” the Speaker’s flagship legislation that eeked out of the House in June.
The minority party lawmakers spoke before international journalists, mere hours after President Barack Obama told the world leaders gathered at the two-week-long summit that an international carbon emissions agreement was in doubt.
Transparency emerged as a key issue among the world’s top polluting nations: the United States, China and India. China and India were balking over requirements that they follow strict controls to measure the amount of carbon those countries were emitting.
Sensenbrenner, who led a similar delegation to the Kyoto negotiations in the late '90s, made the point that Congress is not moving on a measure that would in effect place a national tax on energy anytime soon nor would they approve an international treaty to curb emissions.
The acerbic Sensenbrenner, former chairman of the Science and Judiciary committees, said that the cap-and-trade bill approved in the House was going nowhere in the Senate; even if the Senate approved a watered-down version of the climate-change bill, it would look far less like the Waxman-Markey measure.
“The Waxman-Markey bill is not a done deal. I think it is safe to say that it will have difficulty getting the 60 votes that are needed in the Senate to pass it. If it does pass it will be in a considerably altered form from what was passed by the House of Representatives, which will necessitate a second vote in the House, and it will be very difficult for the Democratic majority in an election year to muster the votes to get it passed,” he said.
But Pelosi pledged on CNN on Friday that the bill would be signed in 2010.
“I want to remove all doubt this bill will get through the United States Senate and it will pass the Congress and it will be signed by the president in this Congress, which means in the year 2010,” the speaker said shortly following Sensenbrenner’s remarks.
Recent revelations that leading climatologists suppressed data on global warming that refuted findings on the controversial topic raise serious questions on whether such legislation is needed, the Republican lawmakers said at the press conference.
Energy and Commerce Committee Ranking Member Rep. Joe Barton (R-Texas) said that an investigation by the National Academy of Sciences or other such entity was warranted into the recent disclosure of thousands of e-mails between world-renowned climatologists on covering up dissenting scientists with differing data on global warming.
“When they talk about using tricks … suppressing data trying to get individuals that disagree with them removed from their positions … they don’t want to comply with the Freedom of Information Act and they come up with various schemes to not release their modeling or their data sets, I think it’s fair to question the science,” Barton said.
His Oklahoma colleague, Rep. John Sullivan (R), called Climategate a “culture of corruption,” borrowing a term widely used by then Minority Leader Pelosi in 2006 when she referred to GOP lawmakers entangled in the Jack Abramoff lobbying scandal.
It was a message that Oversight and Government Reform Ranking Member Rep. Darrell Issa (R-Calif.) wanted to make on the world stage with his fellow Republicans.
But Issa was not invited on the trip even after telling the press last week that he had been included as one of Sensenbrenner’s chosen GOP lawmakers.
According to aides in Issa’s office, the top-ranking GOP member on the House’s investigative panel was “not allowed to go” by Pelosi.
Last week, Issa told The Hill that he was excluded because of politics; Issa has been pressing the administration on the Climategate e-mail scandal.
But Democratic leadership aides dismissed that contention as “ridiculous,” pointing out that the Republicans invited on the trip -- Sensenbrenner, Barton, Sullivan, Rep. Fred Upton (Mich.), Rep. Shelly Moore-Capito (W.V.) and Rep. Marsha Blackburn (Tenn.) -- were outspoken critics of the Democrats' climate-change politics.
Lawmakers were set to return from Copenhagen on Friday night. It is unclear, however, when the Senate will move on a climate-change bill.