Senate Democrats in 'reply mode' on climate budget amendments

Republicans already have attempted to do so, though it's unclear which amendments will receive votes. 

Sen. James InhofeJames InhofeRepeal of Obama drilling rule stalls in the Senate GOP senator: EPA 'brainwashing our kids' A guide to the committees: Senate MORE (R-Okla.) submitted an amendment that would prohibit the Environmental Protection Agency from regulating greenhouse gases.

Sen. John BarrassoJohn BarrassoOvernight Energy: Ethanol groups prep for fight over mandate Trump’s nominee to lead FDA could make drug prices low again Top Senate Republicans ding CBO amid concerns over ObamaCare repeal MORE (R-Wyo.) tossed in a measure that would prevent federal agencies from evaluating greenhouse gas emissions from exports

Sen. David VitterDavid VitterFormer GOP rep joins K Street lobbying firm Capitol Counsel Lobbying World Mercury brings on former Sen. Vitter, two others MORE (R-La.) wants to block regulation of greenhouse gas emissions until China, India and Russia implement similar reductions. 

Sen. Roy BluntRoy BluntTop Dems prep for future while out of the spotlight Overnight Healthcare: Pressure mounts for changes to GOP ObamaCare bill Pressure mounts for changes to ObamaCare bill MORE (R-Mo.) filed an amendment to put senators on record as to whether they support a carbon tax. 

Still, plenty of Democrats filed amendments, and Whitehouse has tried to attach climate amendments to legislation in the past. When pressed on that and his reluctance to float a proposal Friday, he told reporters, “We will have lots of chances.”

The Rhode Island Democrat, one of the Senate’s strongest voices on climate change, said he wasn’t offering an amendment on the topic Friday because, “We will probably already be here until three in the morning." 

And there is probably another reason: It’s unlikely to pass, as centrist Democrats would join Republicans to block a climate amendment.

Regardless of what happens with a potential climate amendment, Senate Democrats contend their budget plan strongly backs the EPA and programs that help combat climate change.

To be sure, Democrats have a climate change amendment ready to go if Republicans come out swinging.

The amendment, from Sen. Bernie SandersBernie SandersDemocrats can either help solve healthcare challenges or stew in their partisanship Healthcare fight pits Trump against Club for Growth Perez, Ellison start multistate ‘turnaround tour’ for Dems MORE (I-Vt.), would “create a deficit-neutral reserve fund related to the need to vigorously combat global warming by establishing policies that transform our energy system away from fossil fuels and into energy efficiency and sustainable energy,” according to a summary.

— Ben Geman contributed to this report.