Right Hooks

Senate Undermines UN Climate Change Treaty

The resolutions would show Obama's not backed by America's lawmakers.

Dan Gilmore · Nov. 16, 2015
Obama's melting snowman. Photo courtesy E Greens, Flickr

Just as Barack Obama is packing his bags to attend the United Nations’ summit on climate change (held in Paris, which we hear is lovely right about now), the Senate will consider three proposals that, if passed, would undermine his standing at the international meeting. Two resolutions, which only need simple majorities to pass because they are “resolutions of disapproval,” would nullify the Obama administration’s emissions regulations over operating power plants and roll back the regulations that essentially ban the creation of new coal plants. Sen. Mike Lee (R-UT) introduced a third piece of legislation that does the opposite of the bill introduced by Sen. Bob Corker (R-TN) that gave Obama the ability to ram the Iran nuclear deal through the Senate. Lee’s bill would require Barack Obama to get approval from the Senate for any climate change agreement he reached in Paris. “Pursuing a deal in Paris as an executive agreement, instead of as a treaty,” Lee said, “would not only violate the plain meaning of the United Nations convention, it would also defy the historical understanding of the constitutional limits that the president is subject to in connection with foreign affairs.” Sure, Obama has his veto pen, but the resolutions would show Obama’s “international community” that he is not backed by America’s lawmakers. In other words, the Senate just, in the words of Mark Alexander, could frustrate Obama’s “political strategy to subjugate free enterprise under statist regulation — de facto socialism under the aegis of ‘saving us from ourselves.’”

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