House Republicans are set to unveil their budget on Tuesday that could cut funds to the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) and the Department of Defense (DOD) for further research on climate change. The rhetoric in the budget states the U.S. government’s two departments that are dedicated to national security have been using part of their budget to fund climate change – something which the GOP does not find useful. This comes after the DOD listed climate change as a top national security threat.
The Republican’s fiscal program notes that climate change funding at the CIA and the DOD is a misuse of taxpayer dollars and a clear example of a bureaucratic redundancy. Republicans stated there are many areas in the federal government that have programs that are duplicative and are not core functions of official departments. Therefore, their mission to cut climate change funding for the CIA and DOD will be to end wasteful government spending and takes steps towards encouraging Congress to reform funding for departments.
Though, the budget still needs to be held to a vote. As can be expected, the Obama Administration and House Democrats will push back against any Republican attempts to de-fund climate change research. Calls for cutting climate change funding have become louder over the last few weeks as the budget has been in its final stages of being formed by Republicans. This may have offered a preview into the future possibility of a fight over climate change and other environmental issues. For example, Senator Ted Cruz (R-TX), a 2016 presidential hopeful, has spent the better part of a year pushing to end the increase of climate change funding at NASA, a motive he stressed during a subcommittee hearing on the agency’s budget last week.
Though, Republicans against the factualness of climate change are not confined to the House. Senator Jim Inhofe (R-OK) has also been outspoken in the debate on climate change. As his policy propositions take a line of fundamental denialism, Inhofe believes climate change is a scientific hoax, and should not be dealt with in any form by the government or domestic industries. Senator Mitch McConnell (R-KY) has also been up in arms about the recent U.S.-China deal in regards to capping carbon emissions. He has fervently stated the focus of the government’s agenda is to create jobs for people, not to advance clean energy research and policy, especially not more funding for the CIA and DOD.
Cruz and other rank-in-file Republicans currently question the validity of climate change amongst an onslaught of scientific research that proves its threats. Outside of the contentious debate over climate change, in the halls of the Capitol, scientists have been hard at work to gauge the health of Earth’s environment against the impact from industrial nations. Nearly 97 percent of scientists state climate change exists and have substantial tangible evidence to prove its actuality. They have proven the main arbiter of atmospheric pollution is from industrial nations and the burning of fossil fuels all over the world.
President Obama has planned to address climate change as a foundation of his second-term agenda, unveiling unprecedented proposed legislation to decrease the amount of carbon pollution from domestic power plants. Though, with a Republican majority in the House, his policy ideas will most likely be shot down.
Even though many Republicans are against funding the CIA and DOD for further research on climate change, over the last few months, a plethora of former Republican officials have called on Congress to act quickly to fund programs that could give scientists a better understanding of the ever-increasing temperatures on Earth. Four previous EPA administrators, all of whom served under Republican presidents, expressed their opinions to a Senate subcommittee last year. They said Senate Republicans should cease their efforts to halt regulations on greenhouse gases and carbon emissions and should join the effort to battle climate change. Many of the aforementioned former administrators warned that climate change could inadvertently cost the U.S. government hundreds of billions of dollars in economic loses by the end of the century if no action is taken.
Though, with this voice of environmental reason, will there be action by House Republicans? Considering former Republican administrators have put their voice into the budget battle, current House Republicans may use a chapter out of the pages of history from the experiences of their predecessors to pass a budget that will allow for further climate change research for the CIA and DOD.
By Alex Lemieux
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