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Press Room:  For Immediate Release 
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CONTACT: Josh Dorner, 202.675.2384

Shameful Obstructionism Stymies Climate Bill
Bill’s Opponents Choose Procedural Games Over Real Debate

Washington, D.C.—On a vote of 48 to 36 the Senate today failed to achieve the 60 votes necessary for cloture on the Boxer Substitute to the Lieberman-Warner Climate Security Act (S. 3036).  Several supporters of the bill were absent at the time of the vote, including Senators Clinton, Obama, Biden, and Kennedy. 

Today’s vote comes after the Senate Republican leadership---led by Senator Minority Leader McConnell (Ky.) and Senators Allard (Colo.), Inhofe (Okla.), and Cornyn (Tx.)—used crude procedural tricks to tie the Senate in knots all week.  After forcing an additional 30 hours of debate on a procedural motion that they had already approved by an overwhelming margin, Senate Republicans shutdown the Senate on Wednesday by forcing Senate clerks to spend some 9 hours reading the entirety of the 491-page Boxer Substitute Amendment (S. 3036) aloud.  The Republican leadership rejected all attempts at a compromise over amendments and other parameters for debate, forcing Senate Majority Leader Reid (Nev.) to file for cloture before any amendments to the bill could be considered.

A leaked strategy memo outlined the Senate Republican leadership’s cynical plot to stymie the bill.  The memo made clear that their focus was “much more on making political points than in amending the bill…or affecting policy.”

Statement of Carl Pope, Sierra Club Executive Director

“A reckless and cynical minority has denied the Senate—and the American people—the meaningful and long overdo debate on global warming their constituents have been clamoring for.  While the Senate leadership and a bi-partisan group of Senators sought to debate the solutions to our ever-deepening environmental and economic crises, the Republican leadership instead used theatrics to tie the Senate in knots for the sole purpose of ‘making political points.’  This kind of behavior has no place in the United States Senate and neither does this group of Senators.

“Based on their ongoing campaign of lies and misinformation, we already knew Senators beholden to Big Oil, Big Coal, and other polluters would do everything in their power to stop meaningful action on global warming.  It is disappointing enough that these Senators refuse to support the kind of smart energy solutions that will put America back to work and offer real relief to consumers reeling from rising energy prices, but it is truly shameful that they refused to even allow a free and fair debate on some of the most pressing issues of our time.

“While this bill may not have ultimately found success, its sponsors deserve much credit for bringing this crucial issue before the Senate and the American people.  This process has been extremely valuable and will guide us as we map out a strategy for putting strong global warming legislation on the President’s desk next year. 

“The American people have turned their backs on just the kind of cynical political games we saw the Senators McConnell, Inhofe, and others play this week.  While these ploys may have succeeded in today’s closely divided Senate, we are confident that a larger pro-environment majority will allow us to prevail in the next Congress.”  

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