What: All Issues : Environment : (S. 1) On an amendment putting the Senate on record in opposition to President Obama’s climate pact with China (2015 senate Roll Call 20)
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(S. 1) On an amendment putting the Senate on record in opposition to President Obama’s climate pact with China
senate Roll Call 20     Jan 22, 2015
Progressive Position:
Nay
Progressive Result:
Win
Qualifies as polarizing?
Yes
Is this vote crucial?
No

This vote was on an amendment putting the Senate on record in opposition to President Obama’s climate pact with China.

Sen. Roy Blunt (R-MO) offered the amendment during consideration of a bill authorizing construction of a controversial oil pipeline. Sen. Blunt’s amendment was not designed to have any practical effect on federal policy; rather, it was a statement of the “sense of the Senate.” The amendment asserted that the U.S.-China Joint Announcement on Climate and Clean Energy Cooperation – which called on both countries to cut back their greenhouse gas emissions – had “no force and effect in the United States.” It also stated that the climate pact was bad for American consumers.

Sen. Blunt argued that the U.S.-China agreement was unfair to the United States, because Americans would be required to cut net climate pollution while China would simply be slowing the growth of greenhouse gas emissions. Lawmakers should make clear that it does not agree, and remind the president that any international agreement must be approved by the Senate, he said.

“The United States should not be bound by commitments where we are the only party that has a commitment made in the agreement with China,” Sen. Blunt said.

Opponents of Sen. Blunt’s amendment argued that the climate pact was actually a boon for the United States, because it called for new cooperation in areas like building energy-efficient buildings. Congress should not stand in the way of efforts by the president to cut greenhouse gas emissions while improving the prospects for American business abroad, they said.

“When we reached an agreement through the president of the United States to work together as a way to reduce energy consumption and greenhouse gases, guess what is going to win?” Sen. Maria Cantwell (D-WA) said. “American business, American product, and we are selling it to them because we have an agreement to work together to be more energy efficient.”

Even though 51 senators voted in favor of Sen. Blunt’s amendment and only 46 voted “nay,” the amendment was defeated because it was brought up under Senate rules that require 60 votes for passage. Voting “yea” were 50 Republicans and 1 Democrat. Voting “nay” were 44 Democrats and 2 Republicans. As a result, the Senate defeated the effort to go on record in opposition to President Obama’s climate pact with China.


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