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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 MerkleyPoll: Dem incumbent holds 5-point lead in Oregon governor's race Trump, Feinstein feud intensifies over appeals court nominees EPA chief calls racist Facebook post he liked ‘absolutely offensive’ 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 FeinsteinThe Hill's Morning Report — Presented by the Coalition for Affordable Prescription Drugs — Pollsters: White college-educated women to decide if Dems capture House Trump, Feinstein feud intensifies over appeals court nominees American Bar Association dropping Kavanaugh review 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 MulvaneyJohn (Mick) Michael MulvaneyOn The Money: Deficit hits six-year high of 9 billion | Yellen says Trump attacks threaten Fed | Affordable housing set for spotlight in 2020 race Deficit hits six-year high of 9 billion: Treasury Trump attacks Democrat in Ohio governor's race 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) ManchinTrump makes new overtures to Democrats Gillibrand backs Manchin, Bredesen despite their support of Kavanaugh Senate heads home to campaign after deal on Trump nominees MORE (W.Va.). They were joined by Republican Sens. Lamar AlexanderAndrew (Lamar) Lamar AlexanderOvernight Health Care — Presented by the Coalition for Affordable Prescription Drugs — Senate blocks Dem measure on short-term health plans | Trump signs bill banning drug price 'gag clauses' | DOJ approves Aetna-CVS merger | Juul ramps up lobbying Trump signs bills banning drug pricing 'gag clauses' Senate defeats measure to overturn Trump expansion of non-ObamaCare plans MORE (Tenn.) and Susan CollinsSusan Margaret CollinsGraham: I hope Dems 'get their ass kicked' for conduct around Kavanaugh St. Lawrence alumni, faculty want honorary degree for Collins revoked 'Suspicious letter' mailed to Maine home of Susan Collins MORE (Maine). Sen. Lindsey GrahamLindsey Olin GrahamSaudi mystery drives wedge between Trump, GOP Suspects in journalist's disappearance linked to Saudi crown prince: report Overnight Defense: Trump worries Saudi Arabia treated as 'guilty until proven innocent' | McConnell opens door to sanctions | Joint Chiefs chair to meet Saudi counterpart | Mattis says Trump backs him '100 percent' MORE (R-S.C.) did not vote.