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Without Republicans, Obama’s Climate Pledge Is An Empty Promise

Jason Plautz, National Journal

A Republican Congress is unlikely to divert billions abroad to help Obama’s green agenda.

When it comes to President Obama’s planned promise to contribute $3 billion to a U.N. climate fund for developing countries, the pledge is the easy part.

Getting Congress to pony up the funds? That might take some doing.

A White House official said that the $3 billion contribution to the Green Climate Fund will be doled out over multiple years and is subject to congressional appropriations. That means it’s going to be subject to review by Republicans who want nothing less than to send money to poor countries to fight climate change.

In a statement, Sen. Jim Inhofe, the incoming chairman of the Environment and Public Works Committee, vowed to fight the pledge, which he said was part of a climate-change agenda that’s “siphoned precious taxpayer dollars away from the real problems facing the American people.”

“This includes getting our nation’s debt under control, securing proper equipment and training to protect our men and women in uniform, and repairing our nation’s crumbling roads and bridges,” Inhofe said, listing priorities for the new Congress. “These are the realistic priorities of today.”

Bloomberg last week quoted an aide for incoming Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell as saying “On the president’s desire to send the U.N. a ton of money, I’ve never heard the leader endorse that approach.” In a statement today, McConnell spokesman Don Stewart said the pledge would be “part of the regular appropriations review and would have to compete with priorities.”

“Just because the President announces it doesn’t mean Congress will pass it,” he said.

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