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Senate spending bill blocks international climate funding

Senate spending bill blocks international climate funding
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A spending bill approved by a Senate panel on Tuesday would block American money from going to an international climate change fund, a key Obama administration project. 

The Senate’s $52.08 billion State Department and foreign operations bill, released on Tuesday, prohibits the federal government from making contributions to the international Green Climate Fund (GCF), a program established to help developing countries cope with climate change. 

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The Obama administration has pledged $3 billion for the climate fund by 2020, and in March the United States made its first payment of $500 million into the program. Funding the GCF is a major goal for international climate change negotiators, including those within the administration. 

The March payment came despite Republican opposition to the Green Climate Fund. The party last year ignored President Obama’s funding request for the program and sought to block funding for it unless the Senate got a vote on the Paris climate deal. 

A year-end spending deal, however, didn’t expressly prohibit federal funding for the GCF, and the Obama administration found money for it elsewhere in the State Department’s budget. 

The new Senate bill, however, would block such payments, according to an overview of the bill released by the Appropriations Committee.

The provision will likely raise opposition among Democrats. Even so, an Appropriations subcommittee cleared the bill in a matter of minutes of Tuesday, and ranking Democrat Sen. Patrick LeahyPatrick Joseph LeahyCongress brings back corrupt, costly, and inequitably earmarks Biden sparks bipartisan backlash on Afghanistan withdrawal  Senate GOP opens door to earmarks MORE (Vt.) indicated members will look to amend the bill during a full committee markup on Wednesday.