SALEM, Ore. — Oregon Gov. Kate Brown on Tuesday decried the Senate Republicans’ walkout over a sweeping climate change bill, calling their tactics to block a vote on the bill “dangerous.”
House Bill 2020, also known as the cap-and-trade bill, would reduce fossil fuel emissions through a cap on carbon.
Senate Republicans have fled the Capitol – and the state – to avoid a vote on the bill, which they believe would cost many of their constituents in rural Oregon their jobs. The walkout, which began six days ago, has left 140 bills frozen in the Oregon Legislature.
"Senate Republicans have blocked a bill that provides a better future for our state and for our children, and the tactics they employed to do so are not just unacceptable, but dangerous,” Brown said in a statement.
"This is not the Oregon Way and cannot be rewarded. The Republicans are driving us away from the values that Oregonians hold dear, and are moving us dangerously close to the self-serving stalemate in Washington, DC.
"It’s now up to Republicans to prove me wrong. Are they against climate change legislation or are they against democracy? If they are not back by Wednesday afternoon, we will know the answer,” said Brown.
On Tuesday morning, Senate President Peter Courtney suggested that the bill no longer has enough Democratic votes to pass.
Courtney pleaded with the Republicans to return, saying the Senate still needs to approve budget bills and policies addressing foster care and mental health.
Protesters rallied Tuesday morning at the Capitol, also calling for Republicans to return to work.
Senate Minority Leader Herman Baertschiger says Republicans need further assurances that the legislation is at a "complete end." The Minority Leader adds that he still needs to have further conversations with Democrats so that "Republicans feel comfortable with the process."
More coverage of Oregon GOP walkout
Gov. Brown sends police to find walkout GOP senators: ‘They need to return and do the jobs they were elected to do’