WASHINGTON — A panel of the US Congress on Thursday moved to bar foreign assistance related to climate change, defying President Barack Obama’s calls to contribute as part of an international accord.
On a party line vote, the Republican-led House Foreign Affairs Committee voted to ban funding in next year’s budget for Obama’s initiative to support poor nations in adapting to climate change or pursuing clean energy.
But the measure’s future is uncertain as other committees also have jurisdiction over climate funding including in the Senate, where Obama’s Democratic Party is in control.
Representative Connie Mack, a Republican from Florida, said he proposed the funding cut as “we have to prioritize US tax dollars.” Jean Schmidt, a Republican from Ohio, questioned if human activity was causing climate change.
Democrats attacked the move. Representative Howard Berman, the top Democrat on the committee, said it would cut off funding for vulnerable populations that are already feeling the effects of climate change.
Gerry Connolly, a Democrat from Virginia, likened the Republican effort to the 1925 Scopes monkey trial in which a Tennessee teacher was taken to court for teaching evolution.