So, is it that they have a problem with what Whitehouse said in that first speech nearly two and a half years ago:
There is a wave of very justifiable economic frustration that has swept through our Capitol. The problem is that some of the special interests—the polluters—have insinuated themselves into that wave, sort of like parasites that creep into the body of a host animal, and from there they are working terrible mischief. They are propagating two big lies. One is that environmental regulations are a burden to the economy and we need to lift those burdens to spur our economic recovery. The second is the jury is still out on climate changes caused by carbon pollution, so we don’t need to worry about it or even take precautions. Both are, frankly, outright false.
Imagine if your child were sick and the doctor said she needed treatment, and out of prudence you went and got a second opinion. Then you went around and you actually got 99 second opinions. When you were done, you found that 97 out of 100 expert doctors agreed your child was sick and needed treatment. Imagine further that of the three who disagreed, some took money from the insurance company that would have to pay for your child’s treatment. Imagine further that none of those three could say they were sure your child was OK, just that they weren’t sure what her illness was or that she needed treatment, that there was some doubt.
On those facts, name one decent father or mother who wouldn’t start treatment for their child. No decent parent would turn away from the considered judgment of 97 percent of 100 doctors just because they weren’t all absolutely certain.
Surely the 27 don't disagree with that. Or perhaps they do. Perhaps it's something to do with this line from the same speech that keeps them off the roster of speakers:
Here in Washington we feel the dark hand of the polluters tapping so many shoulders. And where there is power and money behind that dark hand, therefore, a lot of attention is paid to that little tap on the shoulder.
Words, of course, only go so far. And while the senators' words tonight are welcome indeed, action matters.
Everybody knows the House of Representatives has almost as many climate-change deniers on board as a creationist conference has Darwin-bashers. So, anything climate-related that the Senate passes stands no chance in 2014 of clearing the scientifically illiterate caucus. But that doesn't make passing a bill a waste of time. Doing so would show Americans what could be done, what would be done with a relatively modest change of elected politicians in Washington.
For now, the senators could pass the Boxer-Sanders legislation, the Sustainable Energy Act and the Climate Protection Act. (See here and here for discussion.)
But even without immediate action, a huzzah to the 28 senators who will be on hand tonight. Perhaps next time, Majority Leader Harry Reid can carve them out a few hours in primetime.
Here is the list of scheduled speakers. If yours isn't on that list, a call to her or his office is in order:
Harry Reid of Nevada, Dick Durbin of Illinois, Kirsten Gillibrand and Charles Schumer of New York, Patty Murray of Washington, Brian Schatz of Hawaii, Sheldon Whitehouse of Rhode Island, Barbara Boxer and Dianne Feinstein of California, Ron Wyden and Jeff Merkley of Oregon, Bill Nelson of Florida, Maria Cantwell of Washington, Benjamin Cardin of Maryland, Bernie Sanders of Vermont, Amy Klobuchar and Al Franken of Minnesota, Mark Udall of Colorado, Tom Udall and Martin Heinrich of New Mexico, Jeanne Shaheen of New Hampshire, Richard Blumenthal and Chris Murphy of Connecticut, Angus King of Maine, Tim Kaine of Virginia, Elizabeth Warren and Ed Markey of Massachusetts and Cory Booker of New Jersey.
A Siegel has a discussion about the all-nighter here.
New Minas has a discussion about it here.
Marcia Yerman has a related discussion about the House Safe Climate Caucus here, a group that now has 38 Democratic members.
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