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 MerkleyOvernight Health Care — Presented by Partnership for America's Health Care Future — Walmart to stop selling e-cigarettes | Senators press FDA to pull most e-cigarettes immediately | House panel tees up e-cig hearing for next week Bipartisan group of senators urges FDA to pull most e-cigarettes immediately Overnight Health Care — Presented by Partnership for America's Health Care Future — Pelosi unveils signature plan to lower drug prices | Trump says it's 'great to see' plan | Progressives pushing for changes 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 FeinsteinFeinstein calls on Justice to push for release of Trump whistleblower report Senate Judiciary Committee requests consultation with admin on refugee admissions Trump reignites court fight with Ninth Circuit pick 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 MulvaneyTrump judicial picks face rare GOP opposition Trump administration asks Supreme Court to take up challenge to consumer bureau NOAA chief praises agency scientists after statement backing up Trump tweet 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) ManchinToomey on gun reform: 'Beto O'Rourke is not helping' Trump walks tightrope on gun control O'Rourke gun confiscation talk alarms Democrats MORE (W.Va.). They were joined by Republican Sens. Lamar AlexanderAndrew (Lamar) Lamar AlexanderDemocrats hit Scalia over LGBTQ rights Here are the lawmakers who aren't seeking reelection in 2020 EXCLUSIVE: Swing-state voters oppose 'surprise' medical bill legislation, Trump pollster warns MORE (Tenn.) and Susan CollinsSusan Margaret CollinsTrump judicial picks face rare GOP opposition GOP signals unease with Barr's gun plan Sinema touts bipartisan record as Arizona Democrats plan censure vote MORE (Maine). Sen. Lindsey GrahamLindsey Olin GrahamPost peace talks, Afghan elections are the best way forward Trump walks tightrope on gun control Pompeo doubles down on blaming Iran for oil attacks: 'This was a state-on-state act of war' MORE (R-S.C.) did not vote.