The following are the votes upon which Vote Climate U.S. PAC has based our U.S. House score in the “Votes” category of our national, Climate Change Voter’s Guide. Descriptions of legislation and the votes were obtained from the League of Conservation Voters National Environmental Scorecard.
Recognizing the Cost of Climate Change
House Roll Call Vote 489
Representative Markwayne Mullin (R-OK) offered an amendment to H.R. 3354, the Department of the Interior, Environment, and Related Agencies Appropriations Act, 2018, that would prohibit funds for implementing the Obama Administration’s Social Cost of Carbon rule, which is an analysis of the real economic impacts, positive or negative, of the carbon pollution of a project or proposed rule. The Social Cost of Carbon is a critical tool that helps the public and decision makers understand the true benefits and costs of a project and the possible ways to mitigate negative impacts. Weakening or eliminating funding for its use, which is what this amendment would do, ignores the costs of these emissions, putting critical infrastructure, taxpayer dollars, and local communities’ health at risk. On September 13, the House adopted the Mullin amendment by a vote of 225-186 (House roll call vote 489). NO IS THE PRO-ENVIRONMENT VOTE.
Methane Pollution Safeguards
House roll call 488
Representative Markwayne Mullin (R-OK) offered an amendment to H.R. 3354, the Department of the Interior, Environment, and Related Agencies Appropriations Act, 2018, which would prevent the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) from implementing its standards to reduce methane pollution from new and modified sources in the oil and gas industry. The EPA’s methane standard requires low-cost, proven safeguards that are critical to reducing methane’s contributions to climate change, with estimated climate benefits of $170 million by 2025, and also curbs toxic air pollutants that contribute to smog and jeopardize the health of nearby communities. On September 13, the House approved the Mullin amendment by a vote of 218-195 (House roll call vote 488). NO IS THE PRO-ENVIRONMENT VOTE.
Extreme Attack on National Security
House Roll Call Vote 368
Representative Scott Perry (R-PA) offered an amendment to H.R. 2810, the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2018, which would have stripped out language directing the Defense Department to prepare for the effects of climate change. The Pentagon has long warned that climate change is a grave threat to our country’s national security, and military experts, including the Secretary of Defense, says climate change threatens our military readiness today. On July 13, the House rejected the Perry amendment by a vote of 185-234 (House roll call vote 368). NO IS THE PRO-ENVIRONMENT VOTE.
House Roll Call Vote 431
On behalf of House Energy and Commerce Committee Ranking Member Frank Pallone (D-NJ), Congressman Scott Peters (D-CA) offered an amendment to H.R. 5538, the Interior, Environment, and Related Agencies Appropriations Act, 2017, which would have struck damaging language in the bill that blocked implementation of the Environmental Protection Agency’s Clean Power Plan, including termination of any assistance to states that have asked for help developing sensible state policies. The Clean Power Plan establishes the first national carbon pollution limits for new and existing power plants and is the single biggest step our country has ever taken to tackle climate change. Communities across the United States are already suffering from the devastating impacts of climate change, such as more frequent and severe weather events like droughts, wildfires, floods, and storms, and unchecked climate change also threatens public health. On July 12, the House rejected the Pallone amendment by a vote of 182-244 (House roll call vote 431). YES IS THE PRO-ENVIRONMENT VOTE. The House passed H.R. 5538 on July 14, but the Senate took no action on this legislation.
Carbon Pollution Limits for Power Plants
House Roll Call Vote 384
House Energy and Power Subcommittee Chairman Ed Whitfield (R-KY) sponsored H.R. 2042, the Ratepayer Protection Act of 2015, which would undermine action on climate change and strikes at a central tenet of the Clean Air Act. H.R. 2042 would let governors simply opt-out of commonsense carbon pollution standards for power plants. It would also delay implementation of these critical standards until all litigation is resolved, which could last until 2022. On June 24, the House approved H.R. 2042 by a vote of 247-180 (House roll call vote 384). NO IS THE PRO-ENVIRONMENT VOTE. The Senate took no action on this legislation.
Climate Change Resilience & Adaptation
House Roll Call Vote 508
Representative Alan Lowenthal (D-CA) offered an amendment to H.R. 348, the Responsibly and Professionally Invigorating Development (RAPID) Act of 2015, which would prevent continued consideration or the selection of alternatives to projects submitted for review under the National Environmental Policy Act that do not adequately address the risks of wildfires, flooding, or other extreme weather events fueled by climate change. The amendment would ensure that government-funded projects are resilient to climate change’s impacts. On September 25, the House rejected the Lowenthal amendment by a vote of 170-228 (House roll call vote 508). YES IS THE PRO-ENVIRONMENT VOTE.
Extreme Attack on Carbon Pollution Limits for New Power Plants (CRA)
House Roll Call Vote 651
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) sponsored S.J. Res. 23, the Congressional Review Act “Resolution of Disapproval” that would block the Environmental Protection Agency’s carbon pollution standards for new and modified power plants. S.J. Res. 23 is an extreme measure that would permanently block these clean air protections, putting our health at risk and slowing our country’s transition to an economy powered by clean energy. Following its passage in the Senate, on December 1, the House approved S.J. Res. 23 by a vote of 235-188 (House roll call vote 651). NO IS THE PRO-ENVIRONMENT VOTE. President Obama vetoed S.J. Res. 23 on December 18.
Climate Change Science
House Roll Call Vote 103
Representative Jan Schakowsky (D-IL) offered an amendment to H.R. 3826, the Electricity Security and Affordability Act, which would require Congress to accept the scientific findings that man-made carbon pollution contributes to climate change and that climate change has a wide range of negative effects. 2014 was the hottest year on record and communities across the U.S. are already feeling the impacts of climate change, ranging from costly droughts to deadly forest fires to more severe storms. On March 6, the Schakowsky amendment was rejected 190-221 (House roll call vote 103). YES IS THE PRO-ENVIRONMENT VOTE.