Sen. Arlen Specter says he won’t block debate on a climate bill this year
Addressing a crowd of liberal bloggers on Friday, Sen. Arlen Specter (D-Pa.) said he would not block forward motion on priority issues for Democrats, and also said he expects to support the Obama administration’s plan to address climate change.
Specter shook up Congress in April when he announced his switch to the Democratic Party. But as we pointed out at the time, the move didn’t guarantee his support for key Democratic priorities like climate change, and we’ve listed Specter as a swing vote on climate legislation.
On Friday, he told the crowd gathered at Netroots Nation in Pittsburgh, Pa., that he would vote for cloture (a procedural vote that allows debate to proceed, which requires the support of 60 senators) on bills that Democrats, lead by Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) have prioritized.
“A vote for cloture is a proceedural vote and I would expect to support Sen. Reid on a bill he wants to bring up to cut off debate on a motion to proceed so the issue could be taken up,” said Specter.
On climate in particular, Specter said he would support the Obama administration’s priorities on a bill. “I support what Obama wants to do,” he told the crowd.
Specter said he took a seat on the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee after switching parties because he wants to “have a seat at the table” to work on the bill. He said he’s collaborating with committee chair Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.) to shape “a strong bill.”
“I support [action on] climate change,” he said. “I think the global warming issue is long past due.”
If he stays true to his word, this would mark a turnaround for Specter. In 2007, he cosponsored his own less-aggressive climate bill, and in 2008, he voted against proceeding to debate on the Lieberman-Warner Climate Security Act.
Watch a portion of Specter’s remarks: