What: All Issues : Government Checks on Corporate Power : Oil & Gas Industry : (S. 1) On a motion to table (kill) an amendment stating that climate change is real and human-caused, and calling for investment in “clean fossil fuel” energy technology (2015 senate Roll Call 15)
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(S. 1) On a motion to table (kill) an amendment stating that climate change is real and human-caused, and calling for investment in “clean fossil fuel” energy technology
senate Roll Call 15     Jan 22, 2015
Progressive Position:
Nay
Progressive Result:
Loss

This vote was on a motion to table (kill) an amendment stating that climate change is real and human-caused, and calling for investment in “clean fossil fuel” energy technology.

Sen. Joe Manchin (D-WV) offered the amendment during consideration of a bill authorizing construction of a controversial oil pipeline. Sen. Manchin’s amendment was not designed to have any practical impact on federal policy; rather, it represented a statement of the “sense of Congress” on the topic of climate change. The amendment asserted that climate change was “real,” “caused by human activities,” and “has already caused devastating problems” around the globe. It also asserted that climate change-causing fossil fuels will continue to be a major part of the U.S. energy picture, and it called for more spending on research and development of “clean” technology that allows fossil fuels to be burned while releasing fewer greenhouse gases and other pollutants into the atmosphere.

However, before the amendment came to a vote, Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-AK) offered a “motion to table” it. If successful, this motion would prevent Sen. Manchin’s amendment from getting an up-or-down vote, effectively killing it.

Sen. Manchin argued that his amendment represented a realistic approach to the problem of climate change. Lawmakers should address the issue, but they should not forget that coal, nuclear, and natural gas were the only energy sources that had been proven reliable and affordable, he said.

“We can all agree we need to act to address the potentially devastating impact of climate change,” Sen. Manchin said. “What we are asking for is we need a federal commitment from the president to Congress to invest in the research and development of fossil energy so we can use the cleanest and most environmentally responsible way possible and find that technology to do it so we are responsible.”

Supporters of the motion to table Manchin’s amendment argued that they were not convinced by the scientific evidence that climate change was caused by human activity. Sen. James Inhofe (R-OK) said that he had assembled a list of “hundreds” of scientists who did not agree with the consensus opinion on the issue. Groups like the United Nations had promoted the concept of climate change for ideological reasons, he argued.

“How arrogant is it for people to say that man can do something about changing climate? Climate has always changed,” Sen. Inhofe said. “The science is not settled.”

The Senate agreed to the motion to table Sen. Manchin’s amendment by a vote of 53-46. Voting “yea” were 53 Republicans. Voting “nay” were 45 Democrats and 1 Republican. As a result, the Senate defeated the effort to hold an up-or-down vote on an amendment stating that climate change is real and human-caused, and calling for investment in “clean fossil fuel” energy technology.

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