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‘Bipartisan majority’ defeats measure to block climate impact study



Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-FL) was one of the Climate Solutions Caucus members who spoke up in favor of the Defense Department climate study.

WASHINGTON, JULY 14, 2017 – With the help of 46 Republicans, the U.S. House yesterday defeated an amendment to a Defense Department authorization bill that would have blocked a study on the impact that climate change is having on national security. Citizens’ Climate Lobby wishes to thank, in particular, the members of the bipartisan Climate Solutions Caucus who voted to support the climate study.

In a statement released from his office, caucus co-chair Rep. Ted Deutch (D-FL) said, “This vote is proof that there is now a bipartisan majority in Congress of Members who understand that climate change is a real threat to our communities, our economy, and our military readiness. I hope my House colleagues were watching closely; denying climate change is no longer a winning strategy. This will only be the beginning, and I look forward to passing more climate-friendly legislation with my fellow Caucus members in the future.”

“This is a tremendous victory for common sense,” said CCL Executive Director Mark Reynolds. “We know that climate change has become a threat multiplier for our armed forces and is also having an impact on defense infrastructure with rising seas. The Republicans and Democrats on the Climate Solutions Caucus clearly understand this, and we thank them for stepping up on this vote.”

During debate on the National Defense Authorization Act, Rep. Scott Perry (R-PA) introduced an amendment that would have stripped a provision in the bill for a Defense Department study on the impact of climate change on national security.

The Perry amendment was defeated 185-234, with 22 of the 24 Republicans on the Climate Solutions Caucus voting against the amendment.

On the floor of the House yesterday, caucus members Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-FL) and Rep. Elise Stefanik (R-NY) spoke in favor of the study. Stefanik said, “We would be remiss in our efforts to protect our national security to not fully account for the risk climate change poses to our bases, our readiness and to the fulfillment of our armed services mission.”

CCL Legislative Director Danny Richter said the vote to uphold the climate study marks a shift in the influence of the caucus:

“One of the reasons we’ve been so excited about the Climate Solutions Caucus and the Republican Climate Resolution is the possibility of building a blocking minority within the majority; i.e. at least 23 Republicans willing to take votes in support of the climate. While there had been a question of whether these Republicans would vote as a bloc, today we know the answer. Though they had lots of very welcome friends, this amendment would have failed with just the Republicans on either the caucus or the resolution who took the pro-climate vote.”

CCL Senior Congressional Liaison Jay Butera said the caucus might have influenced other Republicans to vote against the amendment. “There’s safety in numbers. We’re starting to see a ripple effect of this growing group of Republicans making it easier and easier for other Republicans to vote the right way on the climate issue.”

CONTACT: Steve Valk, , 404-769-7461

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Steve Valk is Communications Coordinator for Citizens' Climate Lobby. Steve joined the CCL staff in 2009 after a 30-year career with the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. Follow him on Twitter at @valklimate.