A measure that would permanently strip the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) of its ability to regulate greenhouse gas emissions was not an “adult amendment,” Sen. Jay Rockefeller (D-W.Va.) said Thursday.

“Is this an adult amendment?” Rockefeller asked rhetorically. “It cannot be.”

The amendment, from Sens. Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) and James Inhofe (R-Okla.), was one of many being offered Thursday to the Small Business Reauthorization Act, which would provide funding for the Small Business Innovation Research program (SBIR) and the Small Business Technology Transfer program (SBTT), initiatives Democrats say are critical for job creation.

Rockefeller ridiculed the amendment as “unrealistic, irresponsible and immature.”

“It’s childlike,” Rockefeller said. “It’s like saying, ‘I'm taking my football. I am going home.’ ”

On the other hand, Rockefeller touted his own emissions-related amendment to the small-business bill, which would impose a two-year moratorium on the enforcement of carbon emissions by the EPA.

“What we need is a time-out,” he said.

Rockefeller said senators ought to vote for his two-year moratorium over Republicans’ permanent ban because his plan has a greater chance of becoming law.

“This bill [the Republican’s proposed amendment] has no chance of becoming law. So why do they do it?” Rockefeller said. “They have to know that. I don’t think it will pass here. It definitely won’t pass the White House.”