Democrats Are Trolling Republicans So Hard on Climate ChangeBut Republicans have wriggled out of this trap. They've taken advantage of the noncommittal wording of the Sheldon Whitehouse amendment and voted for it en masse:
Democrats see weakness in the GOP's stance climate change, and they’re doing everything to exploit it. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has promised an open amendment process on the bill to approve the Keystone pipeline, and on Wednesday the Senate will take up six of those amendments -- two of which are Democratic efforts that will put Republicans on the spot: Are you a climate change denier or not?
Senator Brian Schatz's amendment declares that climate change is real and caused by human activity, while Sheldon Whitehouse's asserts climate change is not a hoax. Independent Senator Bernie Sanders's has a third amendment, stating the U.S. has a responsibility to act on pollution, which could be taken up at a later point.
The U.S. Senate has voted overwhelmingly, 98 to 1, to approve an amendment affirming that climate change is real, and "not a hoax."Yes, Inhofe has used the word "hoax" in reference to climate change -- but what he said was this:
... One lawmaker, Senator James Inhofe (R-OK) has even called climate change "a hoax."
The amendment, from Senator Sheldon Whitehouse (D–RI), takes a veiled jab at Inhofe, asking simply whether it is “the sense of the Senate that climate change is real and not a hoax."
In a surprise this afternoon, Inhofe rose before the vote to ask to become a cosponsor of the Whitehouse amendment. Scattered applause greeted his remarks. "The climate is always changing," he said, and always has. The hoax that he has talked about, he suggested, is that there are people who think they are so "arrogant" and "powerful" that "they can change climate."
... Inhofe was one of the last Sentors to vote, in favor. The lone no vote came from Sen. Roger Wicker (R-MS).
"With all of the hysteria, all of the fear, all of the phony science, could it be that man-made global warming is the greatest hoax ever perpetrated on the American people? It sure sounds like it."All he had to do today in order to support the Whitehouse amendment was agree that, um, the climate changes. He still doesn't believe those changes are caused by humans, or that they amount to global warming. So he agreed to an amendment that reads, in its entirety, "It is the sense of the Senate that climate change is real and not a hoax," and all but one of the other Republicans followed suit.
Inhofe argued the hoax was idea that climate change was man made, and since the amendment didn't state that, he argued he could support it— Frank Thorp V (@frankthorpNBC) January 21, 2015
Trolling averted. And now there's no reason for Republicans to vote for any of the other amendments that specifically ascribe climate change to humans, because they're on record as not being deniers, even though they still are deniers.
Senator Dan Coats expressed the sense of the GOP caucus with this tweet:
Yeah, that's confusing climate and weather. But Heartland America won't mind that.
I predicted last week that if a stronger amendment from Senator Bernie Sanders is put up for a vote, nearly all Republicans will vote no, with no hesitation. I stand by that prediction.
UPDATE: The Brian Schatz amendment stating that "human activity significantly contributes to climate change" just got only 50 votes in the Senate, 10 fewer than it needed to overcome a filibuster. If it's voted on, the Sanders amendment won't even get that many.
UPDATE, THURSDAY: Regarding the Schatz amendment:
The 5 Senate Rs who voted to say “human activity significantly contributes to climate change”: Alexander, Ayotte, Collins, Graham, Kirk.— Sahil Kapur (@sahilkapur) January 22, 2015