Senate panel votes to fund UN climate agency

Senate panel votes to fund UN climate agency
© Greg Nash

A Senate committee voted Thursday to contribute $10 million to the United Nations’ climate change agency.

The Senate Appropriations Committee voted 16 to 14 to approve an amendment by Sen. Jeff MerkleyJeffrey (Jeff) Alan MerkleySenate Dems press DOJ over coronavirus safety precautions in juvenile detention centers Democratic unity starts to crack in coronavirus liability reform fight Oregon GOP Senate nominee contradicts own campaign by saying she stands with QAnon MORE (D-Ore.) to restore funding for the U.N.’s Framework Convention on Climate Change in the State Department appropriations bill.

The payments that the United States had made annually since joining the convention in 1992 had been slated to be eliminated.

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Merkley said at the committee meeting Thursday to vote on the bill that the amendment “fits in with Secretary [Rex] Tillerson’s desire that we both continue to monitor the changes in the world’s climate and that we keep a seat at the table.”

Sen. Dianne FeinsteinDianne Emiel FeinsteinGraham announces hearing on police use of force after George Floyd killing Frustration builds in key committee ahead of Graham subpoena vote  The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Facebook - Major space launch today; Trump feuds with Twitter MORE (D-Calif.) also spoke in support of the amendment.

“This is important,” she said. “You know, the world’s at risk.”

The U.N. agency is responsible for international climate agreements like the Kyoto Protocol and the Paris Agreement. The United States never joined Kyoto, and President Trump pledged earlier this year to pull out of Paris.

Trump called for an end to U.N. climate funding in his first budget proposal earlier this year. Office of Management and Budget Director Mick MulvaneyMick Mulvaney12 things to know today about coronavirus Mulvaney: 'We've overreacted a little bit' to coronavirus The Memo: Trump agenda rolls on amid pandemic MORE called that and other climate change funding wasteful.

“As to climate change, I think the president was fairly straightforward — we're not spending money on that anymore; we consider that to be a waste of your money to go out and do that,” Mulvaney said.

The House’s version of the State funding bill does not fund the U.N. climate agency, so the two chambers will have to negotiate regarding the final outcome.

All of the Senate Appropriations Committee’s Democrats voted for the Merkley amendment except Sen. Joe ManchinJoseph (Joe) ManchinDemocratic unity starts to crack in coronavirus liability reform fight Stakes high for Collins in coronavirus relief standoff The Hill's Coronavirus Report: Surgeon General stresses need to invest much more in public health infrastructure, during and after COVID-19; Fauci hopeful vaccine could be deployed in December MORE (W.Va.). They were joined by Republican Sens. Lamar AlexanderAndrew (Lamar) Lamar AlexanderChina stalled reporting genetic information about COVID-19, angering WHO: report Senate GOP chairman criticizes Trump withdrawal from WHO Trump: US 'terminating' relationship with WHO MORE (Tenn.) and Susan CollinsSusan Margaret CollinsTrump pushes back against GOP senators' criticism of dispersal of protesters in Lafayette Square: 'You got it wrong' Trump, Biden battle to shape opinion on scenes of unrest GOP senators dodge on treatment of White House protesters MORE (Maine). Sen. Lindsey GrahamLindsey Olin GrahamThe risks of staying in Afghanistan far outweigh the risk of withdrawal Republicans turning against new round of ,200 rebate checks Calls for police reform sparks divisions in Congress MORE (R-S.C.) did not vote.