What: All Issues : Environment : (S. 1) On an amendment to put Congress on record as believing that human activity contributes “significantly” to climate change (2015 senate Roll Call 12)
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(S. 1) On an amendment to put Congress on record as believing that human activity contributes “significantly” to climate change
senate Roll Call 12     Jan 21, 2015
Progressive Position:
Yea
Progressive Result:
Loss
Qualifies as polarizing?
Yes
Is this vote crucial?
No

 

This vote was on an amendment putting Congress on record as believing that human activity contributes “significantly” to climate change.

Sen. Brian Schatz (D-HI) offered the amendment during consideration of a bill authorizing construction of a controversial oil pipeline. Sen. Schatz’s amendment would have no practical impact on federal policy; rather, it called for a “sense of Congress” statement that climate change is real, and that humans contribute “significantly” to the phenomenon. 

Supporters of Sen. Schatz’s amendment argued that it was a common-sense affirmation of the views of the overwhelming majority of climate scientists. Congress had not been able to pass legislation addressing climate change in any real way, they said, but it should at least be able to come together and acknowledge that the warming climate is a problem.

“We may not agree on the solutions, on the path forward or even on some of the details, but I do believe it is time for us to begin to agree on a basic set of facts,” Sen. Schatz said. “The purpose of my amendment is to take a step back, to take a deep breath on a very contentious issue, and to give the Senate an opportunity to come together and state with no value judgment that we accept the work of thousands of the world's brightest and most dedicated scientists.”

Opponents of Sen. Schatz’s amendment said they took issue with the inclusion of the word “significantly” in the amendment – as in, human activity “significantly contributes to climate change.” This was an “arrogant” idea that had been “cooked up by the United Nations,” Sen. James Inhofe (R-OK) said.

“Go back and look at the archeological findings. They talk about climate from the beginning of time having changed and changed both ways. The Scriptures talk about it,” Sen. Inhofe said. “Yes, (the climate) is changing – no question about that. But the hoax is that there are people who are so arrogant they think they have the power to change climate.”

Even though 50 senators voted in favor of Sen. Schatz’s amendment and only 49 voted against it, the amendment was defeated because it was brought up under Senate rules that require 60 votes for passage. Voting “yea” were 45 Democrats and 5 Republicans. Voting “nay” were 49 Republicans. As a result, the Senate defeated the effort to put Congress on record as believing that human activity contributes “significantly” to climate change.

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