Nearly four dozen congressional Republicans, including 22 members of the House Climate Solutions Caucus, voted alongside Democrats last week to defeat an effort to prevent the U.S. Department of Defense from assessing the 20-year impacts of climate change on the military.
The amendment to the National Defense Authorization Act, introduced by Rep. Scott Perry (R-PA), would also have deleted language recognizing climate change as a “direct threat” to U.S. national security. The measure lost on a 185-234 vote, with 46 Republicans opposing it.
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The vote was proof of a “bipartisan majority in Congress of members who understand that climate change is a real threat to our communities, our economy, and our military readiness,” Climate Solutions Caucus Co-Chair Ted Deutsch (D-FL) said in a statement. “I hope my House colleagues were watching closely; denying climate change is no longer a winning strategy.”
“The Pentagon has long warned that climate change is a grave threat to our national security, and the Secretary of Defense says climate change threatens our military readiness today,” said Sara Jordan, legislative representative for the League of Conservation Voters. “Now even a bipartisan majority of Congress agrees .”
In the House of Representatives debate, Perry said climate change should not be a priority for the military, and legislators shouldn’t tell the military where to focus its attention. Climate Solutions Caucus member Rep. Elise Stefanik (R-NY) countered that “we would be remiss in our efforts to protect our national security to not fully account for the risk climate change poses to our bases, our readiness, and to the fulfillment of our armed forces’ mission.”
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