Monday, August 21, 2017

More GOP Lawmakers Bucking Their Party on Climate Change

But if the Republican Party is undergoing a shift on climate, it is at its earliest, most incremental stage.

Rep. Carlos Curbelo, one of the most vulnerable Republicans in the House, said this week that the Climate Solutions Caucus has grown faster than he expected. (Credit: Susan Walsh/AP Photo) Click to Enlarge.
While President Donald Trump continues to dismantle Obama-era climate policies, an unlikely surge of Republican lawmakers has begun taking steps to distance themselves from the GOP’s hard line on climate change.

The House Climate Solutions Caucus, a bipartisan backwater when it formed early last year, has more than tripled in size since January, driven in part by Trump’s decision in June to withdraw the United States from the Paris climate accord.

And last month, 46 Republicans joined Democrats to defeat an amendment to the annual defense authorization bill that would have deleted a requirement that the Defense Department prepare for the effects of climate change.

The willingness of some Republicans to buck their party on climate change could help burnish their moderate credentials ahead of the 2018 elections.  Of the 26 Republican caucus members, all but five represent districts targeted by the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee next year.

But it has also buoyed activists who view the House members’ positioning as a rare sign of GOP movement on climate change.

“Strangely, President Trump helped us,” said Bob Inglis, a former Republican congressman whose views on climate change contributed to his defeat in a South Carolina primary in 2010. “His withdrawal from Paris dramatically increased the number of [internet] searches about climate change and increased interest … People are getting more and more uncomfortable with the nuttiness of these positions.”

In a Republican-held Congress, Inglis said, voting to reject a Republican-backed amendment to the defense authorization bill was “a big step for these members … Members of Congress who are attuned to their districts apparently are picking up on the reality that Americans on both left and right are concerned about climate change.”

Read more at More GOP Lawmakers Bucking Their Party on Climate Change

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