Vote of the week

A Senate measure that would overturn the Bush administration’s regulation on mercury pollution attracted the support of eight Republicans this week, but it failed after six Democrats rejected it.

Sen. Patrick Leahy’s (D-Vt.) joint resolution was voted down, 47-51.

The Republicans who voted for it were Sens. Lincoln Chafee (R.I.), Norm Coleman (Minn.), Susan Collins (Maine), Judd Gregg (N.H.), John McCain (Ariz.), Gordon Smith (Ore.), Olympia Snowe (Maine) and John Sununu (N.H.).

Democrats who crossed over to reject Leahy’s measure were Max Baucus (Mont.), Robert Byrd (W.Va.), Kent Conrad (N.D.), Byron Dorgan (N.D.), Ben Nelson (Neb.) and Mark Pryor (Ark.).

During the floor debate, Sen. Frank Lautenberg (D-N.J.) said, “I suspect most Americans are going to be shocked to learn the administration wants to allow more poisonous mercury into the environment. But that is exactly what they are trying to do.”

Senate Environment and Public Works Committee Chairman James Inhofe (R-Okla.) said, “Who in this chamber would truly believe the president would sign legislation to repeal his own administration’s rule? … Now, if you want political points with some of the far-left environmental groups, sure, this might be your opportunity to get it.”