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 DainesTrump faces test of power with early endorsements OVERNIGHT ENERGY: Supreme Court declines to hear challenge to Obama marine monument designation | Interior reverses course on tribal ownership of portion of Missouri river | White House climate adviser meets with oil and gas companies Senate GOP pushes back on list of participants in oil and gas leasing forum 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 Blackburn2024 GOP White House hopefuls lead opposition to Biden Cabinet Blackburn introduces bill to require migrant DNA testing at border Bottom line MORE (R-Tenn.) is unveiling a bill aimed at cutting off funding for the administration's move to rejoin the multinational deal. 


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 BidenBiden taps California workplace safety leader to head up OSHA Romney blasts end of filibuster, expansion of SCOTUS US mulling cash payments to help curb migration 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.

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.

Special Envoy for Climate John KerryJohn KerryKerry says he's 'hopeful, not confident' that China will cooperate on emissions Overnight Energy: EPA pledges new focus on environmental justice | Republicans probe EPA firing of Trump-appointed science advisers | Biden administration asks court to toss kids' climate lawsuit Indian prime minister assures Kerry country committed to Paris climate pledges 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.