Parents around the country have been fighting hard to protect the quality of our air, and our climate safety. We have reason to be disappointed with the U.S. House of Representatives this week, after two votes that would move our country backwards.
But, in these fiercely divided times, we also saw some examples of political courage. Representative Bob Dold (R-IL) and Representative Richard Hanna (R-NY) took strong stands for the health of our families by voting against S.J. Res 23 and S.J. Res 24 – resolutions that would dismantle America’s Clean Power Plan. This plan limits carbon pollution from power plants, regulating, for the first time ever, the country’s single largest contributor to global warming.
S.J. Res 23 and S.J. Res 24 used an extreme measure known as the Congressional Review Act (CRA) to nullify new requirements to cut pollution from power plants. Even worse, CRAs also tie the hands of future Administrations by forbidding the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency – now and in the future — to adopt rules that are “substantially similar,” unless directed by Congress. CRAs are so powerful, and so potentially disruptive, that they used to be invoked sparingly. Now they are a regular feature of partisan fights.
Unfortunately, the resolutions passed the House on a nearly party-line vote — except for Reps. Hanna and Dold. They put principles ahead of party, and demonstrated their convictions that it is of paramount importance to protect our children from the devastating impacts of climate change. We thank them for their votes.
The Senate also passed CRAs last month along mostly party lines. But three Republican Senators, Mark Kirk of Illinois, Susan Collins of Maine, and Kelly Ayotte of New Hampshire, voted against the resolutions — and for public health and environmental protections. We are grateful for their principled votes as well.
President Obama has said he will veto these damaging CRAs, and neither chamber has enough votes to override his veto. But climate safety should not remain mired in partisan politics. We need more leaders like Congressmen Dold and Hanna, and Senators Collins, Ayotte and Kirk.
Just months after the Pope urged Americans to “care for our common home”— and as leaders from more than 180 countries are gathering in Paris to craft a framework for curbing greenhouse gas pollution — opponents in Congress want to send a signal that America does not take the threat of impending climate chaos seriously.
Parents of all political parties — who put the safety of their children’s world above all else — will continue to work steadfastly to curb dangerous methane and carbon pollution. We hope Republican politicians will join countless business and military leaders, already preparing for a dangerous climate, to offer voters pragmatic solutions to an urgent and complex problem—one that all of us, inevitably, will have to face together.