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Oregon Democrats Set to Back Down on Climate Bill That Sent GOP Lawmakers Into Hiding

Oregon Democrats appear set to abandon the climate-change bill that prompted Republican state senators to flee the state, after the Democratic state senate president said Tuesday that the bill doesn’t have enough votes to pass.

If Democrats do back down from the bill, it’ll be a win for the Republicans who left the state to block it—and for the right-wing militias who threatened to shoot state police if they tried to bring the senators back to the capital for a vote. 

In a speech first reported by The Oregonian, state Senate President Peter Courtney (D) said the bill doesn’t have enough support from Democrats themselves. “House Bill 2020 does not have the votes on the Senate floor,” he said. “That will not change.”

Democrats can afford to lose two of their own votes while still passing the bill, Willamette Week reported. Two Democratic state senators have already criticized the bill, suggesting that a third, still-unnamed Democrat opposes it. 

Other interests, including pressure from the state’s timber industry, could be at play. In his speech, Courtney mentioned the other bills that would die if Republicans don’t return to the senate in an apparent attempt to salvage the rest of the legislative session that ends June 30.  

The prospect of the carbon-cap bill passing in Oregon, where Democrats hold the governorship and supermajorities in both legislative chambers, sent the state’s senate Republicans fleeing to Idaho in an attempt to deny the senate a quorum. 

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