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Partisanship Splits Panel on Climate Change

Every Republican on the House Energy and Commerce Committee voted Tuesday against amendments reaffirming that climate change is real and backed by scientific evidence.

GOP committee members unanimously voted down three Democratic amendments that call on Congress to accept the scientific basis for global warming. The amendments, supported by all the panel’s Democrats, were proposed amid debate on a GOP bill that would bar the Environmental Protection Agency from regulating greenhouse gas emissions.

All 31 Republicans opposed an amendment that calls on Congress to accept that “warming of the climate system is unequivocal, as is now evident from observations of increases in global average air and ocean temperatures, widespread melting of snow and ice, and rising global average sea level.’’

GOP committee members also voted down an amendment that calls on Congress to accept that the “scientific evidence is compelling” that greenhouse gas emissions are the root cause of climate change. Thirty Republicans opposed it; Rep. Marsha Blackburn (R-Tenn.) did not vote.

Republicans also unanimously rejected an amendment that calls on Congress to accept that “the threat to public health for both current and future generations will likely mount over time as greenhouse gases continue to accumulate in the atmosphere and result in ever greater rates of climate change.”

In his opening remarks, ranking member Henry Waxman blasted the GOP bill as “dangerous legislation.”

“Climate change is real; it is caused by pollution; and it is a serious threat to our health and welfare. We need to confront these realities, not put our head in the sand like an ostrich,” the California Democrat said.

But Chairman Fred Upton said in his opening remarks that there are “a host of reasons” to support the bill, the least of which is to prevent the EPA from imposing costly policies that could result in job losses.

“By passing this bill, we can put Congress back in charge of setting the energy and environmental policies that will allow our nation to create jobs, bring down prices at the pump and make America more secure and energy independent,” the Michigan Republican said.

Beyond Upton and Blackburn, Republicans on the committee include Reps. Joe Barton (Texas), Cliff Stearns (Fla.), Ed Whitfield (Ky.), John Shimkus (Ill.) Joe Pitts (Pa.), Mary Bono Mack (Calif.), Greg Walden (Ore.), Lee Terry (Neb.), Mike Rogers (Mich.), Sue Myrick (N.C.), John Sullivan (Okla.), Tim Murphy (Pa.), Michael Burgess (Texas), Brian Bilbray (Calif.), Charles Bass (N.H.), Phil Gingrey (Ga.), Steve Scalise (La.), Bob Latta (Ohio), Cathy McMorris Rodgers (Wash.), Gregg Harper (Miss.), Leonard Lance (N.J.), Bill Cassidy (La.), Brett Guthrie (Ky.), Pete Olson (Texas), David McKinley (W.Va.), Cory Gardner (Colo.), Mike Pompeo (Kan.), Adam Kinzinger (Ill.) and Morgan Griffith (Va.).

A Democratic aide said more amendments could come up throughout the afternoon.

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