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Republican Leaders Threaten Another Government Shutdown Over Climate Action

Republican Leaders Threaten Another Government Shutdown Over Climate Action

This post was written by Frances Beinecke and originally appeared on EcoWatch

Republican leaders in the Senate took America one step closer to another government shutdown this week, foreshadowing a possible replay at the end of September. Instead of voting on straightforward bills to fund government operations, GOP lawmakers held the appropriation bills hostage with unrelated amendments. These riders would block the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) from addressing climate change and keeping pollution out of our water.

The Republican Party is bending over backward to politicize what has historically been a routine process. Making sure the government has the funds to function is one of the most basic responsibilities of Congress. Yet in recent years, Republican lawmakers have hijacked this process to score ideological points and take aim at popular public health and environmental protections.

This fervor drove them to shutdown the government for three weeks last year. Parks were barricaded, workers were furloughed and our economy took a $24 billion hit. The GOP, meanwhile, got a beating in the court of public opinion.

Senate Democratic Leadership discuss the ongoing effects of the Republican Government shutdown on Oct. 4, 2013. Photo credit: Wikimedia Commons

You would think they’d learn from that fiasco, but they are at it again. Now they are saying they will only uphold their Congressional responsibility if Americans accept dirtier air, polluted waters and unchecked climate change.

That deal would endanger our families’ health and our economy. And it’s not what people want.

Access to safe, clean water tops is always at the top of the list for Americans’ environmental priorities. Poll after poll has also confirmed strong support for tackling climate change. A recent NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll, for instance, found that 67 percent of Americans favor the EPA’s Clean Power Plan to reduce carbon pollution from power plants. A full 57 percent support it even if it raises utilities bills—which the Natural Resources Defense Council has shown is unlikely.

Republican voters are among those who back the EPA’s climate action. Fifty-three percent of Republicans—and 63 percent of Independents and 87 percent of Democrats—in 11 battleground states agree the EPA should limit carbon pollution from power plants, according to a March poll by Harstad Strategic Research for the NRDC Action Fund.

And this week, four former EPA administrators—all appointed by Republican presidents—testified before Congress that the time for climate action is now.

The EPA’s plan for reducing carbon pollution would get America moving forward. It is a flexible, common-sense way for America to address the climate crisis. Even if GOP lawmakers don’t agree with every aspect of it, they should come to the table to discuss it. They shouldn’t bog down vitally important and totally unrelated spending bills with their policy differences.

Most Americans want to Congress to keep the government functioning and to keep our air and water clean. GOP lawmakers should give the people what they want and start working together to build a cleaner, safer future for all Americans.

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Photo Credit: Thinkstock

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184 comments

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8:48PM PDT on Jul 13, 2014

IF THE MEMBERS OF THE HOUSE OF CONGRESS THAT WANT TO CANCEL FUNDING FOR THE EPA WE NEED TO GET THE MEMBERS OUT OF THE CAPITAL AND SEND THEM TO AN AREA WHERE IT IS SO HOT AND POLLUTED, AND DO NOT GIVE THEM WATER OR MAKE THEM DRINK THE POLLUTED WATER AND THE DAMAGED FOOD TO EAT THAT HAS BEEN BROUGHT ON BY CLIMATE CHANGE.

ALONG WITH THIS HAVE THE MEDICAL CENTERS AROUND THE COUNTRY BAR THESE PEOPLE FROM GETTING ANY HELP. LET THEM SUFFER LIKE THEY ARE MAKING THE REST OF US DO.

GIVE THE GOVERNMENT BACK TO THE PEOPLE INSTEAD OF HAVING AMERICAN CITIZEN HATERS IN OFFICE RECALL EVERYONE OF THEM AND GIVE THEIR JOBS TO PEOPLE WHO CARE US. CLIMATE CHANGE IS REAL.

11:14AM PDT on Jul 13, 2014

David Y. Dan is a denier.. He wants to argue and debate established science. He is a fool and a troll.. You will watch as he spins, denies, projects, obfuscates, and deceives. But not once will he ever admit that he is wrong about his pseudo-science that climate change denial is in fact.

10:55AM PDT on Jul 13, 2014

Shut down the government just before an election.. Not only will the republican/tea party not win the senate, but will lose the House in a large way.. And as for 2016 Two shut downs and making noise about an impeachment the republican/tea party has been screaming for all this time. While fighting a sitting president at the same time.

Hillary and will win in a landslide.. Count on it...

11:06AM PDT on Jun 29, 2014

The Republican party is now so consumed with hatred for President Obama that they'll bring down the country.

There are no environmental Republicans left....and that's just disgusting. Do they actually believe there is no reason to preserve what's left of the environment?

Or are they only interested in having power to make money until the very end?

4:42PM PDT on Jun 26, 2014

Linda M.,
Sorry for not getting your humor, but I was not the one saying you would not get snow.

10:10AM PDT on Jun 26, 2014

Maybe this time, they should all just hold their breath until they get their own way. That's ONE way to turn the government blue!

7:21AM PDT on Jun 26, 2014

Dan B has no concept of humour. Big shock.

7:07PM PDT on Jun 25, 2014

dumb!

3:39PM PDT on Jun 25, 2014

What happened to all the 'intelligent' republicans????

They say they are intelligent. But as far as I can see they are cutting their chances to win anything. I don't mind that as they have made my life harder to live because of the greed they all seem to have. Can't we make a party that really does represent use all?
I sure hope so.

7:17AM PDT on Jun 25, 2014

Once again the GOP is proving they are the party of dinosaurs. Destined for extinction. They are not smart enough to evolve. Of course most of them don't believe in evolution. Someone will just have to explain it to them monosyllabically as they pass into extinction.

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