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GOP’s fiscal 2025 spending bills heavy on climate change riders

Military installations are at risk, Democrats say

“This bill disarms our military in the face of the climate crisis,” says House Appropriations ranking member Rosa DeLauro.
“This bill disarms our military in the face of the climate crisis,” says House Appropriations ranking member Rosa DeLauro. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

The House isn’t scheduled to begin work on the lion’s share of fiscal 2025 spending on energy and the environment until July, but the chamber’s initial appropriations bills are already targeting Biden’s climate agenda, drawing rebukes from Democrats and environmental groups. 

The bills’ policy riders would limit the administration’s actions to address greenhouse gas emissions and the effects of climate change. The House on June 5 passed the fiscal 2025 Military Construction-Veterans Affairs spending bill by a vote of 209-197 that would block spending any of its funds on seven different executive orders on the climate.

Democrats accused Republicans of failing to provide sufficient funding to help ensure that Defense Department facilities are protected from the effects of extreme weather made worse by climate change. In its 2021 Climate Risk Analysis, the department concluded roughly 1,700 of more than 5,000 military installations worldwide may be vulnerable to the impacts of climate change.

“This bill disarms our military in the face of the climate crisis by failing to include dedicated funding for resilience projects to help protect our bases and installations from rising sea levels and extreme weather,” said House Appropriations ranking member Rosa DeLauro, D-Conn.

In a letter to representatives, a coalition of 11 environmental groups led by the League of Conservation Voters expressed concerns with the bill, urging a “no” vote on it and the others that have yet to be brought to the floor.

“Poison pill policy riders, including those that target the environment, have no place in government funding bills, and must be removed. Unfortunately, poison pills have been included in every bill produced by the House Appropriations Committee so far for Fiscal Year 2025,” the letter stated. 

The House State, Foreign Operations, and Related Programs Appropriations Subcommittee last week separately approved a draft bill that would block the Biden administration from using any of the funds appropriated to implement an executive order on addressing climate change at home and overseas. This includes a prohibition on enforcing a Treasury Department memorandum directing the United States to oppose fossil fuel projects at multilateral development banks, including the World Bank.

House Appropriations Chairman Tom Cole, R-Okla., said the provision was necessary to prevent the Biden administration from redirecting “funds to wasteful climate programs that harm energy security and economic development in our country and around the world.”

The bill includes prohibitions on any funds being used for the Loss and Damage Fund. This fund, agreed to at last year’s U.N. climate change conference in Dubai, is intended to compensate developing countries for the effects of climate change, acknowledging that these countries contributed relatively little to climate change.

The bill would also eliminate funding to the office of special presidential envoy for climate John Podesta.

The draft Financial Services appropriations bill marked up in subcommittee last week included a provision to block the Securities and Exchange Commission’s rule requiring companies to disclose climate change emissions. The Defense appropriations bill, also marked up in subcommittee, included a provision that would prevent the administration from enforcing a Defense Department rule requiring federal contractors to disclose emissions and climate-related risks.

House Republicans attempted to include many of these provisions in the current fiscal year’s appropriations bills, but they were ultimately dropped from the final agreement reached with the Democrat-controlled Senate.

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