House Passes Bill to Keep U.S. in Paris Climate Treaty

Eiffel Tower GettyImages-909875144

The House of Representatives on May 2 passed a bill that would prevent President Donald Trump from withdrawing the United States from the Paris climate treaty. The final vote on the Climate Action Now Act (H.R. 9) was 231 to 190.
No Democrats voted no and three Republicans voted yes. They were: Vern Buchanan (R-Fla.), Brian Fitzpatrick (R-Pa.), and Elise Stefanik (R-N.Y.). Eighteen non-profit groups, led by the Competitive Enterprise Institute, sent a letter on Tuesday to House members urging them to vote no on H.R. 9. 
H.R. 9 would also require the president to produce a plan to meet the U.S. commitment to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 26 to 28 percent below 2005 levels by 2025. This commitment was made unilaterally by then-President Barack Obama in 2015 when the Paris treaty was being negotiated.
A motion to recommit the bill back to committee failed by a close vote of 206 to 214. The motion offered by Rep. Andy Barr (R-Ky.) would have instructed the committee to add a provision that the act cannot go into effect until the president certifies that meeting the Paris targets won’t result in job losses to China. Fourteen Democrats voted yes and one Republican (Justin Amash of Michigan) voted no.
Rep. Paul Gosar (R-Ariz.) offered an important amendment to clarify that the Paris climate treaty really is a treaty and therefore requires Senate ratification to take effect. The amendment failed on a 189 to 234 vote. No Democrats voted yes and five Republicans voted no: Buchanan, Fitzpatrick, and Stefanik again, plus Trey Hollingsworth (R-Ind.) and John Katko (R-N.Y.).
Although Gosar’s amendment failed, it demonstrated that House Republicans overwhelmingly think that Paris is a treaty and that President Trump should submit it to the Senate for its advice, as required by Article II, Section 2, Clause 2 of the Constitution. The President currently plans to follow the withdrawal procedures contained in the treaty, which thereby legitimizes Obama’s entering the U.S. into the treaty by signing it and pretending that it is merely an executive agreement. The White House and the Senate should pay attention to the vote on the Gosar amendment.
My colleague Marlo Lewis has commented on these aspects of the Paris treaty and H.R. 9 here and here