Whitman news since 1896

Whitman Wire

Vol. CLIV, Issue 10
Whitman news since 1896

Whitman Wire

Whitman news since 1896

Whitman Wire

Republicans offer no solutions of their own to pressing issues

Credit%3A+Douglas
Credit: Douglas

The Senate Environment and Public Works Committee passed a powerful climate change bill on Nov. 5. But before committee Chair Barbara Boxer banged her gavel down, the ornate hearing room was half empty: No Republicans had shown up to the hearing.

Republicans declared Senator Boxer’s decision to proceed without Republican participation marked the climate bill’s “death knell.”

But even if Republicans had participated in the debate, they would have had nothing to contribute.

The formerly Grand Old Party has lost all interest in actually solving problems. The GOP has successfully stalled debate over crucial issues like health care and climate change by bloviating, blustering and spreading falsehoods.

Pulitzer Prize-winning New York Times columnist Paul Krugman recently worried that the Grand Old Party could become a “rump party,” uninterested in governing and concerned only with blocking the Democratic party. On no issue is this proclivity more apparent than climate change.

Ranking Republicans have found all manner of excuses to derail climate legislation. Despite an overwhelming scientific consensus, most Republicans continue to question whether climate change exists; if they admit it exists, they question its danger.

Senator James Inhofe (R-Okla.), ranking member of the Environment and Public Works Committee, insisted as recently as April that environmental groups were promoting “the false notion that man-made greenhouse gasses threaten our very existence.”

Just as they have done with health care, Republicans have shamelessly seized on disinformation and outright lies to stall progress on climate legislation. One such lie is that a climate bill will cost the average American family thousands of dollars per year.

The truth is much easier to stomach. According to the non-partisan Congressional Budget Office, a typical family will pay an additional 47 cents per day; since most of Washington’s electricity comes from hydropower, the average ratepayer here will pay even less.

While heaping criticism on Democratic efforts to pass a climate change bill, Republicans have offered no alternatives. When Republicans boycotted the Environment and Public Works Committee, they forfeited their chance to debate or amend the Democratic bill.

Clearly, they are not interested in crafting a compromise.

Leading Republicans claim that they would support climate legislation that would grow the economy and decrease dependency on foreign oil. The Democratic bill would do just that. Even if Republicans believe that it would not, they have offered no alternatives of their own.

Meanwhile, the need for legislation is more pressing than ever. Climate change does not wait for political bickering and Republican intransigence will only make the problem more difficult to address.

We need climate change legislation now. Regardless of Inhofe’s disbelief, climate change does threaten the very existence of millions of people worldwide. The consequences of inaction grow more pressing by the day.

The Republican party has stalled legislation on this crucial issue. They refuse to compromise, refuse to debate and refuse to offer meaningful alternatives.

Krugman may have given the GOP too much credit. At least on climate change, the Republicans already are a useless rump party.

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