Democratic Senators united to send the Clean Energy Jobs and American Power Act (better known simply as the Climate bill) to the full Senate for debate on Thursday despite a Republican boycott.
Led by Senator Barbara Boxer (D-California), who sponsored the bill with Senator John Kerry (D-Mass.), the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee voted 11 to 1 in favor of the bill, without amendment. Democrats outnumber Republicans 12 to 7 on the committee, and in calling the vote – after days of delay – Boxer exploited a little-used rule that says votes may proceed if the majority of committee members are in attendance.
The only Dem to vote against the bill was Max Baucus of Montana, who said he objected to the bill’s being approved without amendment. Baucus’ home state is a big coal producer. Nevertheless, he has said he would ultimately like to see the bill passed, albeit with some modification.
The climate bill promotes alternative and renewable fuels and a ‘cap and trade’ system for reducing greenhouse gases.
The bill must now pass other Senate committees before being debated by the full chamber.