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Chafee’s Charade:

President Bush can thank Sen. Lincoln Chafee (R.-R.I.) once again for the failure of his Clear Skies legislation. The Senate Environment and Public Works Committee deadlocked in 9-to-9 vote Wednesday, scuttling the bill. Chafee and the committee’s ranking member, Sen. Jim Jeffords (I.-Vt.), voted against the legislation, handing Democrats the victory. Republicans have been unable to move the legislation out of committee since Bush unveiled his plan in 2002. Committee Chairman James Inhofe (R.-Okla.) blamed its failure on Democrats who were “putting a far-left political fund-raising effort over the health and well-being of America’s children and our nation’s environment.” Sen. George Voinovich (R.-Ohio), a co-sponsor of the legislation, said Democrats simply refused to negotiate after Republicans proposed a series of compromises.

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