Senate President Peter Courtney (D-Salem) delivered a short speech to the incomplete legislative assembly on Tuesday, telling them that House Bill 2020, the cap & trade legislation at the center of the most recent chaotic Republican walkout, did not have the votes to pass. He begged Senate Republicans to return to Salem to vote on dozens of other bills still pending, but GOP leaders have said they want further assurances the “complete end” of the climate regulation bill.
Talk of Republicans opting to put the cap & trade plan before voters as a ballot measure was quickly extinguished in the wake of Courtney’s announcement. Senate Minority Leader Ginny Burdick (D-Portland) confirmed to reporters that she believed the bill was dead.
Some reporting has shown that satisfying their central demand was not enough for the absentee Republicans. They claim there are also ongoing “sidebar conversations,” likely meaning they are seeking further concessions. The caucus as a whole is showing no signs of returning to Salem simply because their tactic proved effective.
Governor Kate Brown publicly took a firmer line about possible negotiations with Republicans than in previous months, claiming Democrats shouldn’t “reward bad behavior.” She said any deal had to begin with Republicans’ return to the Capitol.
Burdick resisted the idea that Democrats shared any blame for the continued walkout tactics, claiming this is a simple case in which Democrats “[don’t] have the votes.”
By Ian MacRonald