Climate Change Legislation Fails Cloture Vote

Perhaps the arrival of a 100+ degree heat wave in New York where I am typing this post is a good moment to reflect on the defeat of climate change legislation yesterday.  There is no point in sugarcoating the result: sponsors could get only 48 Senators to vote for cloture and the fact that six indicated they would have voted in favor had they been in Washington is scant consolation. Nor was the debate particularly helpful.  By consuming an entire day in reading the bill, opponents largely blocked serious debate. 

Yet while the legislation did not advance yesterday, the devotion of almost a week of Senate floor time to consideration of climate change is nonetheless a milestone.  As I wrote in an earlier post, floor time served to draw out opposing arguments.  It has put opponents on the spot.  And the cause of climate change is seriously ahead of where it would have been had the bill not gone to the floor.

Next year, there will be a new President who supports climate change, probably a lot more Democratic Senators and a new era will have begun in Washington. Last week's debate thus accomplished something important.  It set the stage for serious consideration and hopefully passage of climate change legislation next year.