Democrats Told To Avoid Talking About Paris Climate Accord Ahead Of Voting On It

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Michael Bastasch DCNF Managing Editor
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House Democratic leaders told members to avoid talking about the Paris climate accord ahead of a scheduled vote on legislation to remain in the international agreement.

Lawmakers were told in a closed-door meeting Tuesday to instead emphasize the economic benefits of staying in the Paris agreement, E&E News reported. Democrats want to make the Paris accord about spurring green jobs, not “some international standards” to cut greenhouse gas emissions, lawmakers told E&E News after the meeting took place.

“It’s all about unleashing the clean economy here in America,” Democratic Florida Rep. Kathy Castor, chair of the House Select Committee on the Climate Crisis and sponsor of the climate bill, told E&E News, reiterating what she told fellow Democrats.

“That agreement would allow countries to create their own goals — America did and it has already created a wave of green jobs,” Castor said.

EPA Administrator Pruitt testifies before a House Energy and Commerce Subcommittee hearing in Washington

REP. Paul Tonko (D-NY) looks on as EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt testifies before a House Energy and Commerce Subcommittee hearing on the FY2019 Environmental Protection Agency budget in Washington, U.S., April 26, 2018. REUTERS/Brian Snyder.

However, conservatives say it’s telling Democrats are avoiding talking about the main goal of their bill: to remain in the Paris accord. (RELATED: Pelosi, Schumer Want To Turn Trump’s Infrastructure Plan Into A Climate Change Bill)

“It’s amazing that some members of Congress cannot accept victory; the US is reducing emissions while increasing energy supplies for Americans but that’s not good enough for politicians,” said Dan Kish, a distinguished senior fellow at the free-market Institute for Energy Research.

“This is really the theater of the absurd.” Kish told The Daily Caller News Foundation.

On Tuesday, the House is set to vote on Castor’s legislation to prevent President Donald Trump from following through on his promise to withdraw from the Paris accord. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi has pushed Castor’s bill as a moderate alternative to the Green New Deal.

Castor’s bill is expected to pass the House, but stall in the Senate.

Trump promised to withdraw from the Paris accord nearly two years ago, arguing it put the U.S. at an economic disadvantage to China and India. Neither China nor India promised to cut emissions, while the Obama administration pledged emissions cuts by 2025. Democrats are trying to turn the tables on that argument.

Speaker of the House Pelosi walks through Statuary Hall at the U.S. Capitol in Washington

U.S. Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) walks through Statuary Hall at the U.S. Capitol in Washington, U.S., April 4, 2019. REUTERS/Yuri Gripas.

Democratic New York Rep. Paul Tonko, who chairs a subcommittee on the House Committee on Energy and Commerce, said meeting the Paris accord’s goals is a “win-win.”

“We want to grow jobs and the economy and be good stewards of the environment. So it’s a win-win situation,” said Tonko, who also stressed the economic message to Democrats.

Castor’s climate committee played up “solutions” to global warming during a hearing Tuesday. The committee’s Twitter account quoted experts touting the alleged benefits of green energy and avoiding additional warming.

The House will debate 30 amendments to Castor’s bill, which is called the Climate Action Now Act. Democrats also told E&E News that Castor’s bill was just a starting point and that more bills were likely on the way.

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