Could the US Senate Pass the Climate Bill, then Reject a Global Treaty?
Image via Senate.gov
Senator John Kerry says that unfortunately, that's a distinct possibility. Kerry is set to be one of the top voices championing the climate bill in the Senate, and he's also the Chairman of the Foreign Relations Committee--so he's in a unique position to assess the international ramifications of the controversial legislation. So why is he concerned? It comes down to a simple numbers game. Oh, Senate. What a frustratingly fascinating political body you are. Currently, 60 votes for a bill are needed to pass without risking a filibuster. With the climate bill, those votes are going to be next to excruciating to muster. Many are optimistic that it will pass--but much like it did in the House, probably by the slimmest of margins.
Repubilcans who voted for the climate bill in the House have already come under fire from their own party--few if any are likely to follow suit in the Senate. And herein lies the problem.
There are 60 Democratic senators (counting the recent additon of Al Franken). There are 40 Republicans. The climate bill can pass with 60 votes. Ratifying a treaty requires 67. And given the current political landscape, it's difficult to imagine 60 votes materializing. Which is precisely what has John Kerry concerned.
According to Bloomberg:
"Sixty-seven votes is a big target here," Kerry said last week, before Congress left for a one-week break. "We may be able to pass something that puts America on track to accomplish our set of goals. But we may pass it with 60 votes, or 61 or whatever, and that's not 67."However, that possibility remains relegated to the realm of pure speculation--right now, the concern is whetheror not the Senate will pass climate legislation at all.