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On July 13th, the bipartisan House Climate Solutions Caucus shaped U.S. climate policy when their votes contributed to a victory during the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA).

When the NDAA was still in committee, Rep. Jim Langevin (D, RI-02) proposed an amendment that recognizes climate change as a direct threat to the national security of the U.S. His amendment requires the Department of Defense (DOD) to submit a report to Congress on vulnerabilities to climate change in military infrastructure, including how climate change is affecting missions like humanitarian assistance and disaster response. The report would also detail how much addressing climate change in expected to cost the DOD.

This is a great step forward for all who accept the reality of climate change and know Congress needs to act to address it.

After some debate, this amendment was accepted by the committee by a bipartisan voice vote. However, when the NDAA came to Congress for a full vote, Rep. Scott Perry (R, PA-04) proposed an amendment that would strike this entire section on climate change from the bill.

Two members of the Climate Solutions Caucus, Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R, FL-27) and Rep. Elise Stefanik (R, NY-21) spoke on the House floor opposing Rep. Perry’s amendment.

In a huge victory, the amendment failed to pass, with a vote count of 185-234. Forty-six Republicans voted to defeat this amendment, including 22 of the 24 Republicans in the Climate Solutions Caucus (one was not present during the voting).

After the vote, co-chair and founder of the Climate Solutions Caucus, Rep. Carlos Curbelo (R, FL-26), said in a press release “This is a great step forward for all who accept the reality of climate change and know Congress needs to act to address it. A bipartisan majority of Members are on the record saying climate change and sea level rise must be taken into account when planning for our national defense… I’m proud of the Climate Solutions Caucus Members who worked to defeat this amendment and I look forward to continuing to build momentum for this cause in the Congress.”

We are eager to build off of this momentum, and continue to build positive climate votes from members of the Climate Solutions Caucus.

Emily Wirzba

Emily Wirzba

Former Legislative Manager, Sustainable Energy and Environment
Emily Wirzba led FCNL’s lobbying work to achieve bipartisan recognition of climate change and action in Congress. She served as co-chair of the Washington Interreligious Staff Community’s Energy and Ecology Working Group.

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