Three House Republicans joined their Democratic counterparts on Thursday in a 231-190 vote for the United States to re-enter the Paris climate agreement.
The defecting GOP votes were from Reps. Elise Stefanik, N.Y., Brian Fitzpatrick, Penn., and Vern Buchanan, Fla.
The Climate Action Now Act (H.R. 9), which has no realistic chance of becoming law, would force the Trump administration to reverse its decision on the Paris agreement and come up with a way to meet the carbon goals outlined therein.
In another first-year move to undo the legacy of President Barack Obama, President Trump announced the United States’ departure from the Paris climate agreement during his first six months in office.
“As President, I can put no other consideration before the wellbeing of American citizens,” Trump said from the White House Rose Garden in June 2017. “The Paris Climate Accord is simply the latest example of Washington entering into an agreement that disadvantages the United States to the exclusive benefit of other countries, leaving American workers — who I love — and taxpayers to absorb the cost in terms of lost jobs, lower wages, shuttered factories, and vastly diminished economic production.”
According to the terms of the agreement, however, the earliest date for the United States to withdraw would be November 4, 2020.
Rather than something with a realistic chance at becoming law, the bill was more of an opportunity for House Democrats (and three Republicans) to send a legislative message on the issue of global warming divorced from all the negative baggage associated with the Green New Deal championed by freshman New York Democrat Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez.
However, just because the bill’s language doesn’t contain any reference to the widely panned aspirational resolution, that doesn’t mean the two have nothing to do with each other.
FreedomWorks’ Jason Pye explained last month that H.R. 9 is really a “Trojan Horse” for the same kind of extreme environmentalist agenda.
“The Climate Action Now Act may not be as blunt as the ‘Green New Deal,’ but it’s still a radical notion because of the lost productivity and fewer jobs that would come as a result of meeting such an extreme reduction in carbon emissions for little to no real environmental benefit,” Pye explains. “It is a way for [House Democrats] to claim they’re doing something about climate change while avoiding the accountability that comes with cooking up the crazy schemes necessary to meet unrealistic targets, such as those outlined in the Green New Deal.”
Before the final vote, the House also rejected a Republican effort to amend the bill’s language to ensure that “the United States’ contribution under the Paris Agreement will not result in a net transfer of jobs from the United States to China” by a vote of 206-214.