The White House said Monday it "absolutely" supported plans by Senate Democrats to hold an all-night "talkathon" intended to highlight the impacts of climate change.
"We commend those who are participating because it's a very important subject that the president, as you know, is concerned about and has a climate action plan dedicated to addressing," White House press secretary Jay Carney told reporters.
Monday night’s event, to be held by the Senate Climate Action Task Force, is expected to draw 28 Senate Democrats, including Senate Majority Leader Harry ReidHarry ReidLawmakers eye early exit from Washington McCain to support waiver for Mattis, Trump team says Reeling Dems look for new leader MORE (Nev.) and Sens. Brian Schatz (Hawaii), Dick DurbinDick DurbinLawmakers eye early exit from Washington Senators crafting bill to limit deportations under Trump Warren pushes Dems to get tough with Trump MORE (Ill.), Barbara BoxerBarbara BoxerTrucking riders ‘in the mix’ for short-term spending bill Lawmakers praise defense bill's National Guard bonus fix Schumer’s elevation to leader spells trouble for Democrats MORE (Calif.) and Sheldon WhitehouseSheldon WhitehouseGOP wants to move fast on Sessions Dem senator backing Sessions for attorney general Dems pledge to fight Sessions nomination MORE (R.I.).
The senators aren't highlighting a piece of legislation and the event will not function as a filibuster to prevent a bill from moving forward, but lawmakers nevertheless say the talkathon could "wake up" colleagues still skeptical about climate change science.
"The purpose is to use the bully pulpit of our Senate offices to achieve that wake-up call," Boxer said in a statement. "We believe that climate change is a catastrophe that is unfolding before our eyes, and we want Congress to take off the blindfolds."
Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnellMitch McConnellLawmakers eye early exit from Washington Confirm Scott Palk for the Western District of Oklahoma Overnight Healthcare: GOP in talks about helping insurers after ObamaCare repeal MORE (R-Ky.) suggested the all-nighter might not accomplish that in an interview with the Cincinnati Enquirer on Friday.
"For everybody who thinks it's warming, I can find somebody who thinks it isn't," he said.
Carney on Monday also highlighted instances from the president's Climate Action Plan where Obama had used regulatory authority to act to address climate change where Congress had not.
"He has taken steps in his first term and again in his second term and will continue to take steps to both reduce our carbon emissions and to make sure that we're more prepared for the effects and impacts of severe weather, for example, which is a byproduct of the climate change that we've seen," Carney said.
On Tuesday, Obama is expected to designate a 1,665-acre nature preserve in California known as Point Arena-Stornetta Public Lands as a national monument. The move, which will impose new land-use restrictions on the area in a bid to protect several fish species and birds, is among a series of second-term executive actions to address environmental concerns.