November 05, 2009

Anger, Ideology and Inability to Lead Mark Boxer’s Senate Career

SACRAMENTO — Deputy Campaign Manager for Communications Julie Soderlund issued the following statement in response to Senator Barbara Boxer’s decision to move the controversial “cap and trade” legislation out of the Environment and Public Works Committee, which she chairs, without any Republican Senators present or voting on the bill.

“Today’s outrageous stunt by Barbara Boxer is yet another classic example of her career-long role as the Bully of the Senate, who brings nothing but a lack of ability to work effectively with others, a rigid partisan approach to every issue, instead of leadership and practical solutions. It’s time to give someone else a chance to lead California in the US Senate, because our state’s citizens deserve better,” said Soderlund. 

This week, Sen. Boxer led the effort to bypass Republican votes on major energy legislation, shoving her job-killing cap and trade bill through the committee she chairs without a single Republican vote.

Democrats on a key Senate committee bypassed a Republican boycott and this morning approved a sweeping plan to limit greenhouse gas emissions, a move meant to reassure other nations as the world prepares for global warming treaty hearings next month, but which figures to inflame partisan tensions in the Capitol. The vote came after the Democrats, led by Environment and Public Works Committee Chairwoman Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.) invoked a procedural rule to vote even though no Republicans had showed for the meeting. Republican senators have boycotted the committee’s hearings on the bill all week, calling for a more detailed government analysis of the bill’s costs before any vote should take place. In a statement, Boxer called the vote ‘in full accordance’ with Senate rules. She blasted the GOP tactics and stressed the urgency of fighting global warming.

Chicago Tribune, November 5, 2009 (emphasis added)

Boxer’s bullying behavior has led a bipartisan group of Senators to move forward in an effort to forge compromise legislation, apart from the job-killing Boxer bill.

Several Senate Democrats have expressed reservations about the bill, particularly its potential to raise costs for farmers and coal consumers. A handful of moderate Republicans, though, have suggested they could back the measure if properly crafted – for example, to include new incentives for offshore drilling and nuclear power. Boxer’s decision to pass the bill without Republicans present could upset moderates from both parties. Or it might not matter: a bipartisan group of senators signaled this week that they are pursuing a compromise bill apart from the bill Boxer’s committee approved today.”

Chicago Tribune, November 5, 2009

“At a tense hearing of the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee that most Republicans boycotted, Voinovich, R-Ohio, urged panel Democrats to postpone voting on the bill for at least a month until the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency completes a detailed analysis of the effect the bill would have on the economy. An emotional Voinovich insisted that ‘this is not something on my part that I am trying to con you out. This is a really important issue. I have put hours into it.

‘I do want to work on a bipartisan basis.’ Appealing to Sen. Barbara Boxer, the committee chairwoman, Voinovich said, ‘Asking for an EPA analysis is not a stalling tactic. This is not a ruse to prevent the committee from marking up a climate bill.’ Voinovich, the only one of seven committee Republicans at the hearing, spoke for about 15 minutes. After Boxer said the panel would delay only for a day before beginning to amend the bill, Voinovich left the hearing room. ‘We are not rushing,’ said Boxer, D-Calif. ‘We are taking our time here.’”

The Columbus Dispatch, November 4, 2009

Sen. Boxer’s top Republican colleague on the EPW Committee accused her of breaking the rules in order to hurriedly pass sweeping legislation.

‘“The Senate Environmental and Public Works Committee’s ranking member on Thursday accused chairwoman Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.) of breaking the panel’s rules by passing climate change legislation this morning. Sen. Jim Inhofe (R-Okla.) today on Fox News said that committee rules dictate that at least two members of the minority must be present when meeting. Boxer held a vote on the legislation, which passed 10-1, but no Republicans were present for the vote. Republican members of the committee have been boycotting the hearings all week because the legislation has not yet been scored by the Environmental Protection Agency.”

The Hill, November 5, 2009

Boxer has a history of forcing controversial partisan votes through Congress. Back in 1990, then-Rep. Boxer sought to bypass the legislative committee process and rush an environmental bill to the House floor.

“A bill sponsored by Sen. Richard Bryan, D-Nev., would boost CAFE from 27.5 mpg to more than 40 mpg by 2001. Automakers have insisted they can’t achieve that level. But until now, the industry has refused to say what is reasonable. … With the November election and recess approaching, the bill has little chance of making it to the floor through normal channels. But Boxer wants to bypass the usual path and rush the bill to a House vote. (A vote on the Senate bill is expected this week.) In the process, she would avoid the Energy and Commerce Committee, chaired by Rep. John Dingell, D-Mich., who has blocked CAFE bills before.”

Automotive News, September 24, 1990

In a classic bit of political hypocrisy, Boxer herself praised the “bipartisan spirit” in California that led to the state legislature passing and the Governor signing significant water policy legislation.

“I commend the legislature and the governor for their successful efforts to approve a comprehensive water package and bond measure that will be presented to California voters. While no legislation is perfect, the bipartisan spirit that led to the passage of these measures will move our state toward meeting the needs of our people, our farming communities and the environment.  We must continue to work together, at the state and federal level, on pragmatic short-term and long-term solutions.”

Press Release of Senator Boxer, November 4, 2009

Too bad that the bipartisan spirit Boxer praises in California doesn’t exist in her office in Washington.

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