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Boxer Presses Ahead With Climate Change Markup

The Senate Environment and Public Works Committee went ahead and launched its markup of Chairman Barbara Boxer’s (D-Calif.) climate change legislation Tuesday morning, despite a boycott by a majority of the panel’s Republicans.Although moderate GOP Sen. George Voinovich (Ohio) did attend the opening session of the markup — which is expected to last several days — his presence was not being counted toward the official “quorum— that would be needed to begin votes on amendments or to report the bill out of committee.The markup was scheduled to take a brief recess this morning in order for Senators to attend a joint session of Congress with German Chancellor Angela Merkel. The panel was expected to resume the markup mid-morning.As part of an effort to try and bring Republicans back into the room, Boxer announced Monday that she would also temporarily suspend the markup for a part of Tuesday’s afternoon session to allow Republicans to meet with Environmental Protection Agency officials to discuss the bill’s effects. Ranking member James Inhofe (R-Okla.) called for the GOP boycott because the EPA has not done a complete new review of the Boxer bill.Boxer also has extended the deadline for Republican amendments until the end of the day Tuesday.However, Democratic aides said that while Boxer had made these concessions in order to persuade Republicans to rejoin the legislative process, she was planning to continue to move forward on the markup — with or without their participation.Meanwhile on Monday evening, Organizing for America, the grass-roots wing of the Democratic National Committee, was organizing a call-in campaign on Tuesday targeting EPW members. OFA, which supports the Boxer bill, sent an e-mail to supporters to urge them to call their home-state Senators who serve on EPW to support the measure.“It’s up to us to show key members of the Senate that the American people are ready for a new era in American energy — that we understand the need for change, and that we’re ready to fight for it. Please call your Senator today and let them know you support the Clean Energy Jobs and American Power Act,— the e-mail read.

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