1998 Scorecard Vote
For some years now, it has been the consensus among atmospheric scientists that the warming of the planet's atmosphere is linked to a range of potentially catastrophic climatic events: flooding, fires, searing heat, and drought. At the meeting of the United Nations Convention on Climate Change in Kyoto, Japan, in December 1997, 167 nations joined the United States in signing a treaty to limit emissions of the greenhouse gases that cause global warming. The agreement must now be ratified by the U.S. Senate.
Some Members of Congress used appropriations bill riders to block the President's administrative efforts to address global warming. Most affected is the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), which studies options for addressing global warming pollution. During committee consideration of H.R. 4194, the bill that appropriates Fiscal Year 1999 funds for the EPA, Rep. Joseph Knollenberg (R-MI) included two riders aimed at checking the efforts of government climate experts.
The first rider would prohibit the EPA from spending any money to implement the Kyoto treaty before it is ratified by the Senate. The rider's language is so broad it could bar even efforts to encourage voluntary reductions in greenhouse gases. The second rider, included in the committee report accompanying the bill, directs the EPA and the Council on Environmental Quality to refrain from conducting educational programs or informational seminars on global warming.
When the bill came to the House floor, Rep. David Obey (D-WI) offered an amendment to override the language prohibiting educational activities. On July 23, 1998, the House passed the Obey amendment, 226 - 198. YES is the pro-environment vote. While the limitation on educational activities was removed, H.R. 4194--as passed by the House on July 29, 1998--still contained the language prohibiting EPA from even considering ways to limit global warming.