Capitol Hill Buzz: Dems block GOP panel vote on CO2 rules

AP News
Posted: Aug 05, 2015 1:15 PM

WASHINGTON (AP) — Democrats opposed to legislation designed to block the Obama administration from implementing tough new standards on greenhouse gas emissions from power plants on Wednesday walked out of a key hearing. Their walkout denied the quorum needed to approve the legislation for the floor.

Top Environment and Public Works Committee Democrat Barbara Boxer of California said she and her Democratic colleagues were happy to vote on the power plant legislation but objected to a panel vote on a separate bill to loosen rules on pesticide spraying over navigable waters.

Boxer led a walkout of the hearing, denying Chairman Jim Inhofe, R-Okla., the quorum he needed to hold the votes. Now, Inhofe said he'll try to reconvene the committee in a room near the Senate floor Wednesday afternoon when the chamber is slated to vote in relation to a cybersecurity bill.

Inhofe would need all 11 panel Republicans to assemble a quorum, but it's not clear he'll be able to do so. For one thing, there's a good chance the Wednesday vote will be called off.

Either way, top Senate Republican Mitch McConnell of Kentucky doesn't need the panel's blessing to try to bring either bill to the floor.