Senate’s Climate Change All-Nighter: Look Who’s Skipping the Party

Photograph by George Frey/Bloomberg

A housing development above the smog-filled valley of Salt Lake City in Utah.

Bring out the cots!

A group of Senate Democrats will stage an all-night session of the Senate tonight to discuss a matter the party has no plans to touch legislatively in this election year: Climate change.

The group, led by Sens. Brian Schatz of Hawaii, Sheldon Whitehouse of Oregon and Barbara Boxer of California, aims to “wake up Congress to the dangers of climate change,” Boxer, chairwoman of the Environment and Public Works Committee, said in a statement.

Twenty-eight senators are listed as potential participants. Notably, the four Senate Democrats seeking re-election in states that Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney won in 2012  — Mark Begich of Alaska, Kay Hagan of North Carolina, Mary Landrieu of Louisiana and Mark Pryor of Arkansas — are not among them.

Republicans used House passage of cap-and-trade legislation as prime campaign ad fodder in the 2010 midterm elections, when Democrats took a historic beating and lost control of the House.

While unusual, senators do periodically force all-night sessions to call attention to issues.

Texas Republican Sen. Ted Cruz kept the chamber in session overnight in September to demand limits on Obamacare as a condition of financing the government, and Kentucky Republican Sen. Rand Paul earlier last year led a protest of the Obama administration’s drone policy that stretched into the wee hours of the morning.

Senate Democrats are urging people to tweet about their effort using the hashtag #Up4Climate.


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