Senate Pulls Climate All-Nighter

Officials quote from "The Lorax"

The Lorax has graduated from kindergarten classrooms to the Senate floor.     Photo: DogFog/Flickr

"Unless someone like you cares a whole awful lot, nothing is going to get better, it's not." —Dr. Seuss, The Lorax

At an unusual hour and in an unusual place, the closing words of Dr. Seuss' environmentalist manifesto rang out. The setting wasn't a kindergarten classroom, but rather the Senate chambers on Capitol Hill, and the speaker was Massachusetts Senator Ed Markey.

Markey's testimony, which took place just after 11 p.m. EST, was only part of a night where 28 Democratic senators camped out for 14 hours to orate about climate change and attempt to draw attention to the topic.

Senator Sheldon Whitehouse (D-R.I.) helped organize the event. Despite speaking about climate change every week that the Senate has been in session for the past two years, his 60 speeches about the issue have received little attention.

The Democrats seem to have taken a page from their rival across the aisle, Ted Cruz, who notably stumped for 21 hours last September to criticize the Affordable Care Act. Cruz also cited Seuss, but opted for the less controversial Green Eggs and Ham.

Despite a shared love of Dr. Seuss, however, Democrats couldn't entice Republicans to attend their global warming powwow, which ended shortly before 9 a.m. Tuesday.

"They'll have an audience of themselves, so I hope they enjoy it," said Senator Jim Inhofe (R-Okla.) before leaving for the night. "Maybe if you keep saying it's real, people will believe it. Kind of interesting that this is happening during the cold spell that hasn't been much fun in Oklahoma."

Some Democratic senators facing close reelection campaigns in swing states, such as Louisiana's Mary Landrieu and Alaska's Mark Begich, steered clear of the event as well.

Monday's climate congregation was only the 36th time the Senate has pulled an all-nighter, which works out to about once every six years.

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