WASHINGTON - Democrats advanced the controversial "cap and trade" bill, Wednesday, sending the climate change legislation to Senate majority leader Harry Reid to decide what's next.
Barbara Boxer, chairman of the Environmental and Public Works Committee, called it a "landmark bill," although the legislation didn't have nearly the impact Democrats hoped for.
The panel voted 11-1 in favor of the bill, with the one lawmaker against the bill being a Democrat. GOP members also refused to vote on the bill.
According to ranking Republican and former chairman Sen. James Inhofe, this was the first time a bill has passed the committee without support from the minority party.
Republicans wanted a cost analysis of the bill from the Environmental Protection Agency before moving forward on legislation they say would kill jobs, make America less competitive and raise prices on food, gas and energy.
Inhofe in his office after the vote, and asked what this means for climate change legislation -- or what some call cap and trade -- and he predicted how the vote, along with health care and government spending, could hurt democrats in the midterm elections.
"This is an act of desperation, and I have to say... we're not going to have a cap," Inhofe said. "If passed, this would be the largest tax increase in the history of America."
"In the election of 1994, we changed Congress," he added. "Now this is what's going to happen in the election of 2010. All the indicators are there. In fact, it's happening faster now than it did in 1993."
Supporters of the bill say it aims to cut carbon emissions to reduce the effects of global warming.
Still, critics question whether the earth's climate is indeed increasing and argue that the bill won't make a dent in reducing greenhouse gases without countries like China and India doing their part.