After being filibustered by Republicans, a landmark global warming pollution control bill failed in the Senate today by a vote of 48-36. Sixty votes were needed to move the measure forward.

Among the senators voting for the Lieberman/Warner Climate Security Act, which would have created a national "cap and trade" system to fine industries for releasing excessive amounts of carbon dioxide, were Maryland's Senators Ben Cardin and Barbara Mikulski.


"The Senate leadership deserves a lot of credit for moving a global warming bill as far as they could this year," said Environment Maryland State Director Brad Heavner.  "We need to go from getting blocked from full consideration of the bill to passing the bill by next year."

Some Republicans, who slowed the bill's consideration by insisting on reading aloud the text of the 500-page plus bill for many hours, regard the proposal as a giant tax that will cripple the U.S. economy.

Sen. James Inhofe (R-Okla.) called it the "Climate Tax Bill." "This bill was doomed from the start," he said. "It was obvious that the Democrats were not serious about supporting this bill. This was one of the largest bills ever considered by this Congress and probably the largest non-appropriations bill the Senate has ever considered. This bill deserved a full and honest debate, with amendments offered and voted upon. The American people did not deserve a political exercise geared toward election year politics."

Sen. Cardin appeared at a press conference at the Chesapeake Bay Foundation and criticized the Republicans for using procedural tactics to delay and defeat the bill.

"This morning the U.S. Senate took a vote that effectively killed global warming legislation this year. The final outcome was not surprising, but it is still disappointing. It also is not the last word," Cardin said.

"Because of obstructionist tactics, Republican opponents of the bill kept us from considering even a single amendment over the course of an entire week of deliberation on the Senate floor. The Republican minority used extraordinary procedural steps to turn their back on fellow Republican and bill sponsor Senator John Warner (R-VA), and turn their back on the American public who urgently want the Congress to take steps now to reduce dangerous pollution and move our country closer to energy independence," Cardin said.

Six senators who were absent -- including Obama, Clinton and McCain -- issued statements saying they would have voted to continue consideration of the Lieberman/Warner bill.

McCain wrote: "Global climate change is the most important environmental challenge facing not only our nation, but the entire world. I am confident that given the will, the federal government can be a lead advocate for ensuring that America is doing its part to reduce global warming, and join in the global effort that is needed to address this world-wide environmental issue.

Like many of my colleagues, I believe this legislation needs to be debated, amended, improved, and ultimately, enacted. While my schedule precludes me from being in Washington, DC, tomorrow to cast my vote, if I were able, I would vote to invoke cloture on the substitute amendment. That does not mean I believe the pending bill is perfect, and in fact, it is far from it. For example, the provisions to impose Davis Bacon mandates should be removed. Most importantly, it must include provisions championed by Senator Graham and myself that would ensure that nuclear power, a proven and clean energy source, is included among the technologies supported in our efforts to address global warming. Nuclear energy is an emission free source of electricity for the nation, which is why it simply must be part of the comprehensive solution to addressing climate change, and if it is not, I could not support the legislation's final passage.

Unfortunately, despite the commitment and tireless efforts of the bill sponsors, Senators Lieberman and Warner, it appears that for now, the Senate, at the direction of the Majority Leader, will choose to put politics above policy, and Congress will fail to act yet again on this critical issue. But rest assured, we will not give up until we finally succeed in enacting needed, comprehensive cap and trade legislation to address this urgent problem."

Senator Obama wrote: "I have a unanimous consent request that I may have printed in the Record a statement of Senator Barack Obama which says if he were able to be present, he would vote to invoke cloture. There being no objection, the material was ordered to be printed in the RECORD, as follows: Madam President, I will not be present for tomorrow's cloture vote on the substitute amendment to the climate change bill (S. 3036). However, were I able to be present, I would vote to invoke cloture. Thank you."