By Andrew Restuccia and Ben Geman - 04/07/11 12:10 AM EDT
Look for the issue to pop up on the campaign trail, where Republicans will likely hammer red-state Democrats.
“Unless this issue moves into an appropriations context, the votes today have likely become a 2012 campaign ad,” a refining industry lobbyist told E2.
The Senate rejected the GOP plan and several Democratic alternatives to limit or delay EPA while leaving its authority intact.
But supporters floated an argument after the Senate action that the sum of the amendment votes shows an appetite to limit EPA. See below for links to E2’s coverage of the battle Wednesday.
Breaking down the Senate EPA votes
While a series of amendments to block or limit EPA climate regulations failed in the Senate Wednesday, they all gained some support from Democrats.
Republicans quickly pointed to the Democrats' support to argue that there is broad Senate backing for reining in EPA. But the GOP fell short of their goal on the most important climate vote of the day.
An amendment offered by Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) — and based on legislation introduced by Sen. James Inhofe (R-Okla.) — to permanently kill EPA climate rules failed to get a majority of senators behind it. The Senate rejected the measure in a 50-50 vote.
The amendment needed 60 votes to pass. While Republicans never expected to reach that threshold, many were confident that they would get more than 50 senators to support the amendment.
Republicans vowed Wednesday to try and bring up their proposal again.
Here's a quick rundown of which Democrats supported the amendments:
Sens. Max Baucus (Mont.), Kay Hagan (N.C.), Amy Klobuchar (Minn.), Mark Begich (Alaska), Tim Johnson (S.D.), Kent Conrad (N.D.) and Carl Levin (Mich.) voted for the Baucus amendment.
Sens. Debbie Stabenow (Mich.), Sherrod Brown (Ohio), Bob Casey (Penn.), Kent Conrad (N.D.), Tim Johnson (S.D.), Amy Klobuchar (Minn.) and Mark Pryor (Ark.) voted for the Stabenow amendment.
Neither the Baucus nor the Stabenow amendments — which would have placed various limits on EPA rules while leaving the agency's regulatory power intact — got any GOP support.
Sens. Jay Rockefeller (W.Va.), Kent Conrad (N.D.), Tim Johnson (S.D.), Mary Landrieu (La.), Joe Manchin (W.Va.), Claire McCaskill (Mo.), Ben Nelson (Neb.), Mark Pryor (Ark.) and Jim Webb (Va.) voted for the Rockefeller amendment, along with three Republicans: Sens. Scott Brown (Mass.), Susan Collins (Maine) and Lindsey Graham (S.C.).
The Rockefeller amendment would block EPA climate rules for two years.
Meanwhile, four Democrats supported McConnell's amendment to permanently prevent the EPA from regulating greenhouse gas emissions. They include Sens. Mary Landrieu (La.), Joe Manchin (W.Va.), Mark Pryor (Ark.) and Ben Nelson (Neb.). One Republican, Sen. Susan Collins (Maine), voted against the amendment.
House Dem defends Koch Industries
Rep. Dan Boren (D-Okla.), one of three House co-sponsors of the Republican bill to block EPA climate regulations, defended Koch Industries Wednesday on the House floor, noting that a subsidiary of the company, Georgia Pacific, has a facility in his district.
"I’m proud of the work Koch Industries brings to my district and its record of environmental stewardship," Boren said.
Boren added that he wants to make sure "Koch can continue to invest in Oklahoma."
His comments came a day after Rep. Gerry Connolly (D-Va.) offered an amendment to the Republican bill to block EPA climate rules that would change the title of the bill to the "Koch Brothers Appreciation Act."
The billionaire Koch Brothers, who run Koch Industries, have become a major target of environmentalists' scorn, having contributed to a series of Republican causes.
Lawmakers introduce natural-gas vehicles bill
Reps. John Sullivan (R-Okla.), Dan Boren (D-Okla.), John Larson (D-Conn.) and Kevin Brady (R-Texas) introduced a bill Wednesday that would offer tax incentives to encourage the development of natural-gas vehicles.
“Natural gas is a cleaner, cheaper, more abundant alternative to foreign oil, and it is in both our economic and national security interest to use the vast reserves we have right here in our own backyard as the bridge fuel towards energy security,” Sullivan said in a statement.
The bill comes after President Obama called for policies to encourage the development of natural-gas vehicles.
ON TAP THURSDAY:
Here are a few highlights from the energy-related events around town ...
Biofuels in focus: The Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee will hold a hearing to review Energy Department programs to boost biofuels and related infrastructure.
They’ll discuss Sen. Tom Harkin’s (D-Iowa) bill to boost ethanol by requiring increased manufacture of vehicles that can run on high ethanol blends, providing new federal grants for ethanol pumps, and several other measures to boost availability of biofuels.
House panel review economic effects of EPA rules: A panel of the House Energy and Commerce Committee will review legislation that would require new interagency analysis of certain EPA rules “in an effort to better understand how these policies are impacting America’s global economic competitiveness, electricity and fuel prices, employment, and reliability of electricity supply,” according to a GOP memo on the hearing.
The bill also calls for “analysis of the cumulative impacts of EPA’s rules on consumers; small businesses; state, local and tribal governments; labor markets; and agriculture.”
IN CASE YOU MISSED IT…
Here’s a quick round-up of Wednesday’s E2 stories:
— Senate Republicans called on Obama to review the administration’s drilling policies
— A House Democrat said climate change is a bigger health threat than AIDS
— Sens. Tom Udall (D-N.M.) and Mark Udall (D-Colo.) introduced a renewable electricity standard
— Some House Democrats voiced support for a bill to block EPA climate regulations
— Obama called for bridging divides on energy policy
This post was updated at 9:08 a.m. on Thursday.