Senate Dems seek to turn tables on GOP in climate change fight

Senate Dems seek to turn tables on GOP in climate change fight
© Greg Nash
Senate Democrats are introducing a resolution urging Congress to act to combat climate change as they try to shift the spotlight on the issue back to Republicans. 
 
All 47 Democrats — including Independent Sens. Bernie SandersBernie SandersThe Memo: Trump faces steep climb to reelection California Democrats face crisis of credibility after lawsuits Fox's Brit Hume fires back at Trump's criticism of the channel MORE (Vt.) and Angus KingAngus Stanley KingTrump, Europe increasingly at odds on Iran The Hill's 12:30 Report: Dems raise stakes with talk of 'constitutional crisis' Hillicon Valley: Regulators press Congress on privacy bill | Americans mimic Russian disinformation tactics ahead of 2020 | Ocasio-Cortez, Sanders back Uber strike | GOP senator targets 'manipulative' video games MORE (Vt.), who caucus with the party — are backing the non-binding resolution being introduced by Senate Minority Leader Charles SchumerCharles (Chuck) Ellis SchumerSchumer wants investigation into Chinese-designed New York subway cars Getting serious about infrastructure Schumer calls on McConnell to hold vote on Equality Act MORE (D-N.Y.) and Tom CarperThomas (Tom) Richard CarperOvernight Energy: EPA watchdog finds Pruitt spent 4K on 'excessive' travel | Agency defends Pruitt expenses | Lawmakers push EPA to recover money | Inslee proposes spending T for green jobs Lawmakers take EPA head to task for refusing to demand Pruitt repay travel expenses Dems request investigation of lobbyist-turned-EPA employee who met with former boss MORE (D-Del.), according to a Democratic leadership source. 
 
Carper, speaking from the Senate floor, said the resolution would touch on three things that "we all agree on." 
 
"Number one, we agree that climate change is real. Two, human activity during the last 100 years is a dominant cause of the climate change crisis we face today. And three, the United States, and especially the Congress … and the administration should take immediate action to address the challenge of climate challenge," Carper said. 
 
The climate change resolution comes as Democrats are in the middle of a high-profile fight over the progressive Green New Deal resolution, with several moderate senators and even members of leadership stopping short of saying they will back the proposal. 
 
The leadership source added that the Carper-Schumer resolution would be "one of many steps" that Democrats would be using "to go on offense on climate change and highlight Republican climate deniers and Sen. McConnell's cynical Green New Deal vote."
 
Democrats will be looking "to get Republicans on record on climate change," the source said.
  
 
"We cannot, we will not, allow cynicism to win. Not now and not with so much at stake. When it comes to climate action, there could not be a starker difference between the Democratic Party and the Republican Party in this debate in this chamber," he said. 
 
McConnell told reporters earlier Tuesday that a vote on the Green New Deal resolution would take place by the August recess. 
 
The Green New Deal, which strives for net-zero greenhouse gas emissions in the United States while creating millions of “good, high-wage jobs,” has zero chance of passing in the Senate, where it needs 60 votes to advance.
 
But Republicans have seized on it as fodder for the 2020 White House election, where many Senate Democrats are vying for their party's nomination. A vote on the proposal would force them to go on the record and potentially help fuel attacks in the presidential race. 
 
Democrats have blasted the tactic by McConnell, arguing that Republicans have done nothing to confront climate change since they gained control of the chamber in 2016. 
 
Democratic Sens. Sheldon WhitehouseSheldon WhitehouseOvernight Energy: EPA watchdog finds Pruitt spent 4K on 'excessive' travel | Agency defends Pruitt expenses | Lawmakers push EPA to recover money | Inslee proposes spending T for green jobs Lawmakers take EPA head to task for refusing to demand Pruitt repay travel expenses Dems request investigation of lobbyist-turned-EPA employee who met with former boss MORE (R.I.), Brian Schtaz (Hawaii) and Martin HeinrichMartin Trevor HeinrichCongress readies for battle over nuclear policy Overnight Defense: Trump tells NRA he will pull US from arms treaty | Pentagon to broaden role of troops at border | Warren offers plan to improve military housing Warren unveils plan to address substandard military housing MORE (N.M.) sent a letter to McConnell on Tuesday asking for a full day of floor debate before a vote on the Green New Deal resolution. 
 
"The Senate has always been the place where our nation’s great policy debates occur. We owe it both to the institution as well as our constituents to stop ignoring this crisis and instead debate the challenges and opportunities posed by climate change," they wrote. 
 
Whitehouse, in a separate floor speech on Tuesday, knocked McConnell saying he was the vote was a "truly preposterous exercise."