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 Democrats push Trump to permanently shutter migrant detention facility Senate Dem seeks answers from DHS on reports of pregnant asylum seekers sent back to Mexico Schumer backs Pelosi as impeachment roils caucus 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 FeinsteinTrump administration urges Congress to reauthorize NSA surveillance program The Hill's Morning Report - More talk on guns; many questions on Epstein's death Juan Williams: We need a backlash against Big Tech 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 MulvaneyDick Cheney to attend fundraiser supporting Trump reelection: report Chris Wallace becomes Trump era's 'equal opportunity inquisitor' Appropriators warn White House against clawing back foreign aid 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) ManchinSunday shows - Recession fears dominate Manchin: Trump has 'golden opportunity' on gun reforms Trump vows to 'always uphold the Second Amendment' amid ongoing talks on gun laws MORE (W.Va.). They were joined by Republican Sens. Lamar AlexanderAndrew (Lamar) Lamar AlexanderThe Hill's Morning Report - How will Trump be received in Dayton and El Paso? McConnell faces pressure to bring Senate back for gun legislation Criminal justice reform should extend to student financial aid MORE (Tenn.) and Susan CollinsSusan Margaret CollinsCook Political Report moves Susan Collins Senate race to 'toss up' The Hill's Morning Report — Trump and the new Israel-'squad' controversy Trump crosses new line with Omar, Tlaib, Israel move MORE (Maine). Sen. Lindsey GrahamLindsey Olin GrahamTwo-thirds of Republicans support 'red flag' gun laws: NPR poll Red flag laws won't stop mass shootings — ending gun-free zones will Pelosi warns Mnuchin to stop 'illegal' .3B cut to foreign aid MORE (R-S.C.) did not vote.