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GOP votes down funding for global climate fund

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The House Appropriations Committee on Tuesday voted down a Democratic push to allow federal spending on an international climate change program.

Rep. Nita Lowey (N.Y.), the ranking Democrat on the panel, proposed an amendment to the House’s State Department and foreign operations spending bill that would let the federal government contribute to the United Nations’ Green Climate Fund (GCF). Republicans have looked to block that funding.

“Preventing the U.S. from making a contribution is short-sighted because we cannot solve climate change alone. It requires multilateral partnerships,” Lowey said.

“The Green Climate Fund is the only multilateral institution that supports clean, resilient development around the world. It is an institution we should be leading.”

Lowey’s GCF measure was tucked into a broader amendment restoring funding for a wide variety of Democratic foreign affairs priorities, including refugee admissions, policies toward Cuba and funding for other United Nations offices.

Rep. Kay Granger (R-Texas) opposed the entire amendment and said the Green Climate Fund "amendment would strike language preventing the administration from carrying out its harmful climate change policies.”

The measure failed on a 20-29 vote.

The GCF is an international account designed to funnel public and private money for climate change adaptation work from developed countries to poorer nations.

The Obama administration has pledged $3 billion for the account by 2020, but Republicans in Congress have looked to stymie the effort.

The 2015 year-end spending deal didn’t include the $500 million Obama wanted for the GCF. But because the deal didn’t prohibit GCF spending, the State Department was able to make a $500 million contribution to the fund out of its normal budget.

Appropriations Committee Republicans in both the House and Senate included GCF funding prohibitions in their 2017 State Department spending bills. But the Senate pulled that provision out of its bill during a markup last month and actually provided $500 million for the fund.

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