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Inhofe Shows Up To Climate Hearing, Refuses To Discuss GOP Position, Walks Out

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Just like the day before, only one Republican showed up for the Senate's climate change hearing Wednesday morning -- but not to debate.

Republicans are boycotting the Environment and Public Works Committee hearings, blocking action by exploiting a committee rule that at least two members of the minority have to be present before opening markup.

On Wednesday, ranking Republican James Inhofe of Oklahoma made a brief appearance at the hearing before the committee began its consideration of roughly 80 Democratic amendments and zero from Republicans, who offered none. In a rare move, Committee Chair Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.) extended the deadline for amendments from Monday to Tuesday night on behalf of the committee Republicans, but once it became clear they wanted an extension of five weeks, she stopped waiting.

Inhofe provided a statement, but unlike Ohio Sen. George Voinovich, the lone Republican at Tuesday's hearing, he declined to further discuss his position -- or even read his statement into the record.

Pressed to expand on the GOP position by Sen. Arlen Specter (D-Penn.), Inhofe snapped, "You know, I say to my good friend Sen. Specter, with whom I've served for 20 years, I don't have to answer that question. I have it in writing. That's exactly what we want. And so I'd -- rather than deviate from, that way people might get confused, it's right in front of you."

"And what I would like to see us do is to try to be specific as to what it is you'd like to have," Specter said.

Inhofe would not be moved. "Yes, well, that's the reason that I did put this in writing, I say to my good friend Sen. Specter," he said. "Because I was afraid there would be some who weren't here at that time who didn't know the past history, and so I wanted to make sure we had it down specifically in writing, so there could be no question as to what we want and what has happened in the past."

Specter tried one more time. "Well, could the senator from Oklahoma describe it in a general way?" he asked.

"No, it's right in front of you, you could read it if you like, If you'd like me to -- I'm not going to read it you the letter, because I'm going to have to be going," Inhofe said. "But it's very specific, it's right in front of you, and the EPA staff has agreed to this."

Shortly thereafter, Inhofe took off, leaving the Democrats to debate their amendments. "We're ready to go," Boxer said after he left.

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