Rep. Lynn Jenkins voted Friday to block the Defense Department from spending any money to study the effects of climate change and its impact on national security.
The amendment to the annual National Defense Authorization Act, one of two annual budget bills for the Pentagon, passed the House on a largely party-line vote, 231-192. All four members of the Kansas delegation voted in favor of it.
Jenkins, a Republican, represents the Second District of Kansas, which includes Lawrence and all of eastern Kansas outside the Kansas City metropolitan area. She officially filed Tuesday to seek her fourth term in the U.S. House.
The amendment bars the Pentagon from spending money, "to implement the U.S. Global Change Research Program National Climate Assessment, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change's Fifth Assessment Report, the United Nation's Agenda 21 sustainable development plan, or the May 2013 Technical Update of the Social Cost of Carbon for Regulatory Impact Analysis Under Executive Order 12866."
"This amendment insures that defense dollars go to defending our nation," Jenkins said. "Any significant policy involving our nation’s energy policy should be done through an act of Congress, within the Department of Energy, not simply through administrative fiat. The president cannot continue to simply ignore the duly elected Congress. If he wants to move forward with those policies he should bring them to Congress.”
The National Climate Assessment is a program that began in 1989, during the George H.W. Bush administration. The project involves numerous federal agencies, from the Department of Agriculture to the Defense Department, that are required to "assist the nation and the world to understand, assess, predict, and respond to human-induced and natural processes of global change.”
In a separate report last year, the Defense Department acknowledged that climate change may "have significant geopolitical impacts worldwide, and accelerate instability or conflict."
The amendment was sponsored by Rep. David McKinley, R-W.Va., a noted skeptic on the human causes of climate change.
"Now, climate change alarmists contend that man-made CO-2 is the cause of climate change," McKinley said on the floor of the House. "Most people may not realize that 96 percent of all the CO-2 emissions occur naturally, and America's CO-2 emissions' contribution to the global community is actually less than 1 percent ... But even with these facts, decarbonizing America's economy is still a long-term goal of the climate alarmists."
Jenkins' spokesman Tom Brandt said in an email that she does not doubt the link between man-made carbon emissions and global climate change.
"However, the issue of this amendment is not whether or not human activities contribute to climate change, because it is pretty undeniable that they do," Brandt said. "The issue in this instance is does the President have the authority to divert resources that are meant to be spent on our nation's defense toward his own agenda without Congressional authority."