Oregon Republicans Refuse to Return to State Capitol Until Climate Bill Is Dead

The Capitol Building is seen in Salem, Oregon in this undated photo. (Credit: Getty Images)

The Capitol Building is seen in Salem, Oregon in this undated photo. (Credit: Getty Images)

Senate Republicans in Oregon say they need further assurances from Democrats about the fate of a landmark climate bill if they are going to put an end to their walkout that has dragged on into a sixth day.

Senate Minority Leader Herman Baertschiger said in a statement Tuesday that Republicans are still trying to “sort out” how to proceed in the wake of an announcement from Democratic leadership that a cap and trade plan has lost support among Democrats.

Baertschiger says Republicans need further assurances that the legislation is at a “complete end.” The Minority Leader adds that he still needs to have further conversations with Democrats so that “Republicans feel comfortable with the process.”

Republicans have fled the Capitol, and the state, to avoid a vote on a statewide cap on carbon emissions. Senate President Peter Courtney begged Republicans to return saying there’s still dozens of policy measures to approve before the Legislative session ends on Sunday.

Senate Majority Leader Ginny Burdick confirmed that the landmark climate bill that sparked a walkout by Republicans is likely dead for this legislative session.

Burdick told reporters Tuesday that there isn’t enough support within the Democratic party to pass what would be the second statewide cap and trade plan in the nation.

All eleven Republican senators didn’t appear for a sixth day to protest the proposed cap on carbon emissions. Burdick says the announcement doesn’t mean Democrats are “rewarding bad behavior.”

Burdick says that it was her sense that “the votes were never there” even before the Republican walkout.

The Senate would still vote on the measure if Republicans returned. Burdick says it would likely be a procedural vote to send the proposal back to committee.

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