McConnell dares Democrats on carbon tax

Greg Nash

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) on Tuesday morning responded to Democrats' climate change all-nighter by daring them to bring legislation to the Senate floor.

Senate Democrats held a 14-hour talkathon on the Senate floor to "wake up" Congress to the threat of climate change, but are not pushing any legislation on a carbon tax for the nation's biggest polluters.

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“Maybe, as some speculate, Senate Democrats were just trying to please the Left Coast billionaire who plans to finance so many of their campaigns," McConnell said Tuesday on the Senate floor. “Because the talking senators didn’t really introduce new legislation."

“I didn’t hear the talking senators announce votes on bills already pending before the Senate," he said. 

McConnell referred to hedge fund billionaire turned environmentalist Tom Steyer, who has pledged to spend upwards of $100 million trying to influence the midterm elections.

He also assailed Democrats for being empty on their promises and for being a hollow image of what they used to be, claiming the party was no longer for the "working people."

“So if Washington Democrats are actually serious about all the talk last night, they should follow it up with action. Democrats control the Senate. Bring up the cap-and-tax bill and let’s have a debate," McConnell said. "And the reason they won’t isn’t because of obstructionism or whatever else they might want to claim. It’s because too many members of their own party would vote against it."

Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska), ranking member of the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee, expressed annoyance with Democrats for painting Republicans as anti-climate policy or as climate skeptics.

"We have to be aware of the energy insecurity and poverty in this country and around the world when we discuss these important issues," Murkowski said on Tuesday.

Senate Democrats made clear before the all-night climate-fest that they weren't pushing any specific bill but attempting to get the dialogue flowing more on climate change in the hopes that down the line Republicans would come to the table. 

But so far responses from Republicans have been far from amiable.