House blocks U.S. exit from Paris climate change pact

By Nicholas Sakelaris
House blocks U.S. exit from Paris climate change pact
Activists gather at Los Angeles City Hall in March to call for more aggressive action on climate change. File Photo by Jim Ruymen/UPI | License Photo

May 2 (UPI) -- The Climate Action Now Act -- the first climate bill in nearly 10 years approved by the House Thursday -- "will go nowhere" in the Senate, Majority leader Mitch McConnell said.

The bill would block the Trump administration from pulling out of the Paris Agreement, an Obama-era pact that sets strict emission goals worldwide. The bill passed 231-190 largely along party lines, with three Republicans voting for it. The legislation is the most significant climate legislation since the cap and trade bill from 2009.


This bill is separate from the Green New Deal, a landmark climate measure that's being pushed by House Democrats but strongly opposed by Republicans.

"I think we need to support whatever action on climate that we can get," Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, D-N.Y. "I certainly think we need to do more, and it's not about any one bill. I'm really just eager and looking forward to legislation that has teeth to it."

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The bill now goes to the Senate, where McConnell said it won't even get consideration.


"This futile gesture to handcuff the U.S. economy through the ill-fated Paris deal will go nowhere here in the Senate," McConnell said Thursday. "We're in the business of actually helping middle class families, not inventing new obstacles to throw in their paths."

For the Green New Deal, McConnell allowed the measure to come to a vote, likely knowing it would fail in the GOP-controlled chamber.

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"So if we really want to move forward, we want to do things that can get through the Senate and get through the president's desk," Rep. John Shimkus, R-Ill., said.

Despite the roadblock in the Senate, Rep. Raul Grijalva, D-Ariz., called the Climate Action Now Act and Green New Deal "aspirational" bills.

"I think you have to make some clear distinctions about how this House majority stands and where the Senate and where the President stand," Grijalva said. "I think those distinctions have to be made, whether it goes anywhere or not."

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Democratic Presidential candidate Joe Biden tweeted his support for the bill passed Thursday.

"We need to face facts on climate change," he said. "It's already here. It's a major threat to our future and we simply cannot wait to take action."


Trump said he moved to withdraw from the Paris accord because it hurts the U.S. fossil fuels industry.

"This agreement doesn't eliminate coal jobs, it just transfers those jobs out of America," Trump said when he announced the move in 2017.

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