Republican senators are sending a firm message to President Obama ahead of climate change talks in Paris this month: “Without Senate approval there will be no money, period” to fund a global emissions deal.
Sen. John Barrasso, R-Wyo., said Wednesday that this is the message he and a group of senators are sending to the president and world leaders ahead of Obama making any sort of agreement on emissions reductions at the United Nations meeting, Nov. 30-Dec. 11, which he said would put taxpayers on the hook for a massive “wealth transfer” to developing countries through a “green climate fund” that is being established to help them deal with climate change.
The green fund has emerged as a top issue for Republicans in criticizing a United Nations deal on which the president plans to sign. The fund would allocate $100 billion a year beginning in 2020 to assist developing nations in mitigating the effects of climate change. The Senate appropriations committee has blocked the money for the fund that the administration requested in its fiscal 2016 budget. But additional money is expected to be included in an omnibus spending bill that Congress will consider next month.
“I don’t see a scenario where this Senate is going to approve in the omnibus bill any language that would open any door, for any green climate fund,” said committee Chairwoman Shelley Moore Capito of West Virginia. The administration wants Congress to appropriate $500 million for its contribution to the fund for 2016 and has made commitments to the U.N. for another $3 billion.
Barrasso and his GOP colleagues plan to detail their concerns in a letter to Obama this week, in which they will plainly state that any deal Obama agrees to must be ratified by Congress. And “without Senate approval there will be no money,” Barrasso said at the hearing.
“Any agreement in Paris that contains legally binding [language] … must come to the Congress” for approval, Barrasso said.