The Senate Environment and Public Works (EPW) Committee passed a climate bill Thursday despite a GOP boycott.
Democrats voted 11-1 to approve the bill, with Sen. Max BaucusMax BaucusFive reasons why Tillerson is likely to get through Business groups express support for Branstad nomination The mysterious sealed opioid report fuels speculation MORE of Montana the only "no" vote.
Republicans protested the markup, which delayed a vote for two days. They wanted the Environmental Protection Agency to perform a more thorough cost analysis of the bill, an effort EPA said would take another five weeks.
The Senate bill, co-sponsored by Democratic Sens. John KerryJohn KerryNew York Knicks owner gave 0K to pro-Trump group A bold, common sense UN move for the Trump administration Former Obama officials say Netanyahu turned down secret peace deal: AP MORE of Massachusetts and Barbara BoxerBarbara BoxerCarly Fiorina 'certainly looking at' Virginia Senate run Top Obama adviser signs with Hollywood talent agency: report Democrats vie for chance to take on Trump as California governor MORE of California, would reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 20 percent from 2005 levels by 2020, more than called for under the House climate bill. Companies would be required to hold permits to cover their emissions. During the initial phase of the program, most of the permits would be distributed for free. Companies could buy additional permits in a market created by the legislation to meet their emissions targets as needed.
In a statement, Boxer, who is the chairwoman of the EPW panel, defended the decision to move forward with a vote without participation from committee Republicans.
“The committee and Senate rules that have been in place during Republican and Democratic majorities are there to be used when the majority feels it is in the best interest of their states and of the nation to act,” she said. “A majority of the committee believes that S. 1733, and the efforts that will be built upon it, will move us away from foreign oil imports that cost Americans one billion dollars a day, it will protect our children from pollution, create millions of clean-energy jobs, and stimulate billions of dollars of private investment.”
Scott Segal, an energy lobbyist at Bracewell & Giuliani, said a final bill will have to provide more protection against rising energy costs, set carbon reduction goals that are “realistic in light of the current state of technology and our energy mix,” and improve provisions relating to the refining sector, which has complained the carbon cap will force many refiners out of business.
“In short, today's action marks another step along the path, but there is much further to go,” Segal said.