During the recent budget showdown, as House Republicans made their boldest effort yet—and failed, at least for now—to repeal mainstream climate science, Democratic Representative Ed Markey of Massachusetts managed to find some dark comedy in the situation. It’s customary during legislative debates for members of Congress to preface their remarks with “I rise” in support of (or opposition to) the bill under consideration. As the GOP majority on the House Energy and Commerce committee prepared to pass a bill prohibiting the Environmental Protection Agency from regulating carbon pollution, Markey said that although he opposed the bill, “I won’t rise physically, because I’m worried that Republicans will overturn the law of gravity, sending us floating around the room.”
After provoking more chuckles by asking whether Republicans also planned to excommunicate Galileo’s finding that the earth revolves around the sun, Markey predicted that HR 910 would pass the full House but be “dead in the Senate.” And so it was. The House passed what environmentalists dubbed the Dirty Air Act on April 7, 255 to 172, with not a single Republican voting against. Senate minority leader Mitch McConnell, however, could muster only fifty votes for a similar measure, leaving Republicans ten votes short of a filibuster-proof majority.
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