Oh Lieberman-Warner climate bill, we hardly knew ye: Climate Progress' Joe Romm brings us the sad news that the legislation may be on its way out -- victim, as he put it, of "apathy" and some serious watering down (read: neutering). Oh yes: It also turns out that whole "getting 60 votes" thing got in the way:
Sorry Sen. Boxer but, in this case, simply "starting the debate" won't cut it -- not when the livelihood of future generations depends on it. As per Washington's usual modus operandi, pork-barreling and favor-seeking -- the few things senators seem to be really good at doing, sometimes -- are threatening to hold up the bill. All of a sudden, that cap-and-trade system to cut 2005 emission levels by 70% is looking a tad ambitious.
Environment and Public Works Chairwoman Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.) shrugged off suggestions she is having trouble winning over moderates and conservatives from either party in her quest to find 60 votes and squash an inevitable filibuster.
"To tell you the truth, we don't know if we'll wind up getting 60 votes this time," Boxer said in an interview. "But we do believe we're making tremendous progress and we're going to start the debate."
Warner and Lieberman have been falling over each other trying to assuage their colleagues' concerns, throwing fig leaves left and right -- including a provision to allow the president to "pull back the throttle" (or back down) if the emission targets prove too difficult to reach -- in a last-ditch effort to attain the 60 vote margin.
Most telling was a quote from Sen. Ben Nelson (D-NE), who is one of several senators to be considering an alternative "climate" bill offered by Sen. George Voinovich (R-OH): "It's a more realistic approach to what technology is going to be required. Just legislating it, doesn't get you there." And he's right: Voinovich's bill is much more realistic -- primarily because, oh, it does absolutely nothing to fight climate change.
Kind of makes you wonder how the Democratic presidential candidates are hoping to get their (much) more ambitious climate bills passed.