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Republican senators take aim at Paris agreement with new legislation

Republicans are taking aim at the Biden administration’s decision to rejoin of the Paris climate agreement, introducing long-shot legislation on Monday aiming to undercut it.

Sen. Steve DainesSteven (Steve) David DainesSusan Collins to back Haaland's Interior nomination OVERNIGHT ENERGY: House Democrats reintroduce road map to carbon neutrality by 2050 | Kerry presses oil companies to tackle climate change | Biden delays transfer of sacred lands for copper mine Indigenous groups post billboards urging senators to confirm Deb Haaland MORE (R-Mont.) is introducing a resolution expressing the sentiment that the agreement qualifies as a treaty and should be sent to the Senate for approval. 

Meanwhile, Sen. Marsha BlackburnMarsha BlackburnRepublicans blast Pentagon policy nominee over tweets, Iran nuclear deal White House defends Biden's 'Neanderthal thinking' remark on masks Marsha Blackburn: Biden needs to 'rethink' comments about 'resilient' and 'resourceful' Neanderthals MORE (R-Tenn.) is unveiling a bill aimed at cutting off funding for the administration's move to rejoin the multinational deal. 

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A spokesperson for Blackburn told The Hill in an email that the senator’s bill was particularly aimed at preventing the administration from sending money to other countries to make up for the U.S.'s withdrawal under the Trump administration. 

President BidenJoe BidenTrump State Department appointee arrested in connection with Capitol riot FireEye finds evidence Chinese hackers exploited Microsoft email app flaw since January Biden officials to travel to border amid influx of young migrants MORE violated the Constitution when he chose to rejoin the poorly negotiated and deeply flawed Paris Climate Agreement—a deal that’s horrible for America and good for China,” Daines said in a statement. 

“This deal will do nothing except cause more hard-working Americans to lose their jobs and burden American families with higher energy prices,” he added. 

Former President Obama angered lawmakers in 2016 when he joined the deal without securing Senate approval. Some Republicans say the move violated Article II, Section 2, Clause 2 of the Constitution, which calls for a two-thirds vote from the Senate to enter into treaties. 

But the Paris accord let countries set their own commitments to the deal, rather than enter into a more formal agreement, which the Obama administration viewed as allowing the U.S. to join the deal without Senate approval.

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It has been estimated that about 90 percent of the international agreements the U.S. has entered into since the 1930s have been executive agreements, which don’t get ratified by the Senate. 

The Republicans' legislation is unlikely to be taken up in the Senate, as Democrats hold control of the chamber. 

Last week, the  U.S. formally rejoined the Paris accord, under which the world’s countries agree to try to limit the planet’s warming to less than 2 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels, with the further goal of limiting warming to 1.5 degrees. 

The Trump administration pulled the U.S. out of the agreement, arguing that it was burdensome for business and workers. 

But Biden has stressed that he sees an opportunity for jobs as the country moves toward clean energy. He has also argued that climate change is among several crises the country faces. 

Under the deal, Obama set a goal of reducing U.S. emissions by between 26 and 28 percent compared to 2005 levels by 2025.

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Special Envoy for Climate John KerryJohn KerryEconomic growth in Africa will not be achieved by a blanket ban on fossil fuels Biden can build on Pope Francis's visit to Iraq OVERNIGHT ENERGY: House Democrats reintroduce road map to carbon neutrality by 2050 | Kerry presses oil companies to tackle climate change | Biden delays transfer of sacred lands for copper mine MORE has said that countries including the U.S. have to “raise ambition.”

Kerry also recently said that the U.S. will “make good” on its climate finance pledge. Obama pledged to give $3 billion to the United Nations’ Green Climate Fund, which helps developing countries transition to clean energy. 

According to Bloomberg, the U.S. only paid $1 billion so far. 

Blackburn hopes to take aim at this funding through her legislation, her spokesperson said. 

“By rejoining the Paris Climate Accords, the Biden administration prioritized leftist goals of foreign countries above the needs of the American people,” Blackburn said in a statement.