This was a vote on an amendment offered by Rep. Broun (R-GA) that would have prohibited any of the funds in the H.R. 2847 to be used to establish or implement a National Climate Service. H.R. 2847 provided fiscal year 2010 funding for the Departments of Commerce and Justice and for federal science and other programs.
Rep. Broun began his statement in support of the amendment by saying: “At best, this new Federal agency is duplicative. At worst, this is an egregious waste of taxpayer dollars for an endeavor which is not even based on sound science.” Climate Science Watch, a web site that describes its role as “promoting integrity in the use of climate science in government”, referred to Rep. Broun as one of the Members of Congress “who deny the science (of climate change) and . . . who act as if a sober response to global climate disruption were a partisan issue.”
Rep. Broun argued that “there is no consensus among policymakers, academics, researchers or bureaucrats about how a National Climate Service should even be structured . . . In order to implement any entity of this nature, we must first be sure that the infrastructure for monitoring our weather and climate patterns is already in place, but that infrastructure is currently not there. What we know for sure is that this new, unnecessary agency will grant broad-sweeping authority to the executive branch with little congressional input. That's it. The details are being left up to some Federal bureaucrat.
‘Additionally, there is an absolute dearth of information regarding the costs and benefits of setting up such an entity . . .We have no assurances that this National Climate Service will turn out to be anything more than a new regulatory agency for the proposed tax-and-cap scheme . . . .” The “cap and trade” program to which he referred was being supported by Democrats as a method for controlling global warming. Under the program, companies emitting higher pollution levels than the law would ordinarily allow could purchase “credits”, which would enable them to continue to emit the higher levels, from companies that emit much lower pollution levels.
Rep. Mollohan (D-WV), who was managing H.R. 2847 for the Democrats, opposed the amendment. He first did so, based on procedural grounds, by noting that a National Climate Service had not yet been created. He suggested that Rep. Broun’s efforts would be more effective if he went before the House committee that would decide whether this Service would even be created. Mollohan acknowledged that “there had been considerable discussion about establishing such an agency and that there was some money in the bill for weather research and satellites that is in anticipation of an authorization of a National Climate Service (but) that money is also needed by the Weather Service.” He then said he also opposed the substance of the amendment because it would go against “the necessity for this nation and for the world to better understand what is happening to the world's climate and how global climate change is going to adversely impact our lives . . . .”
Broun responded by saying: “We are throwing money at something that has not been established, and you're funding something that's not needed--a whole new agency. The National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration has no clue of how to deal with this new National Climate Service. Nobody knows how to operate this thing. Nobody knows what it's going to do. If, indeed, this is funded, it is going to totally remove from Congress any oversight . . . We've got to stop this egregious spending of money that we don't have.”
The amendment was defeated by a vote of 161-262. One hundred and fifty-four Republicans and seven Democrats voted “aye”. Two hundred forty-three Democrats and nineteen Republicans voted “nay”. As a result, no provision prohibiting the establishment or implementation of a National Climate Service was added to the bill providing fiscal year 2010 funding for the Department of Commerce.