WASHINGTON -- In a vote split cleanly along party lines, the Republican-led House Energy and Commerce Committee on Tuesday rejected measures reaffirming climate change as a scientific reality, with every Republican on the panel voting "nay," Roll Call's Jennifer Bendery first reported.
Committee Republicans rejected three amendments acknowledging the science of climate change, with every Republican on the committee voting against an amendment introduced by California Democrat Henry Waxman calling on Congress to affirm “warming of the climate system is unequivocal, as is now evident from observations of increases in global average air and ocean temperatures, widespread melting of snow and ice, and rising global average sea level.’’
The committee also voted 31-20 along party lines to turn down an amendment introduced by Washington Democrat Jay Inslee asking Congress to accept that ‘‘the public health of current generations is endangered and that the threat to public health for both current and future generations will likely mount over time as greenhouse gases continue to accumulate in the atmosphere and result in ever greater rates of climate change.’’ A similar proposal introduced by Colorado Democrat Diana DeGette was also soundly defeated.
The three amendments were introduced in the course of debate over a Republican bill to bar the Environmental Protection Agency from regulating greenhouse gas emissions.
Committee Chairman Fred Upton in his opening remarks claimed the bill would help spur job growth and accused the EPA of destroying jobs in an already faltering economy. "There are a host of reasons to support H.R. 910, but let me put it simply," he said. "This bill says 'stop' to an EPA attempting to impose policies we cannot afford that will destroy jobs we cannot afford to lose. By passing this bill, we can put Congress back in charge of setting the energy and environmental policies that will allow our nation to create jobs, bring down prices at the pump, and make America more secure and energy independent."
Waxman, the ranking Democrat on the committee, called the bill "dangerous" in his opening remarks and implored lawmakers not to "put our head in the sand like an ostrich."