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Opinion The ticking time bomb still threatening the big climate deal

Some Democrats fear GOP will force votes on 'poison pill' amendments to climate, health care package. Ruben Navarrette: Even if Democrats secure 50 votes to pass the climate bill, GOP might get chance to force some tough votes. He says a few Democrats facing tough reelection campaigns might feel tempted to vote for such an amendment, but what happens then is anyone’s guess. If a climate deal gets done, it will be an extraordinary achievement in the face of myriad circumstances working powerfully against it, he says. Navarro: Failure now may squander the last chance to do so for many years, which could be catastrophic, which is catastrophic for the next few years to be catastrophic for many. But in an evenly divided Senate, one defector means passage.

Republicans could offer other “poison pill” amendments, such as a requirement that construction of Donald Trump’s border wall resume. If one or more of these pass, progressive senators might threaten to vote against the whole package, which would sink it. Julian Zelizer: It's unclear how Democrats can prevent these tactics; Republicans can force Democrats to make unusually terrible choices.