WASHINGTON — The Oklahoma delegation returned to the nation’s capital this week as Congress returned from a two-week recess.
The House of Representative focused on the Climate Action Now Act, while the Senate failed to override a presidential veto.
Climate Action Now Act
The House voted Thursday 231-190 to pass H.R. 9, the Climate Action Now Act, which directs the president “to develop a plan for the United States to meet its nationally determined contribution under the Paris Agreement.”
The legislation was the first major climate bill the House has passed in a decade.
President Donald Trump withdrew from the 2015 Paris Agreement — which called for countries around the world to curb greenhouse gas emissions — in June 2017.
Rep. Kendra Horn (D-Okla.) was the only member of Oklahoma’s delegation to vote for the bill, with Reps. Tom Cole (R-Okla.), Kevin Hern (R-Okla.), Frank Lucas (R-Okla.) and Markwayne Mullin (R-Okla.) all voting against it.
“All this bill would do is handcuff the American economy, eliminate jobs, and destroy all the progress we’ve made under President Trump,” Mullin said in a statement. “This is such a disguise. … We cannot have an effective climate policy that puts the United States at a disadvantage with our economic competitors.”
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has already said his chamber will not be taking up the bill.
Senate fails to override veto
The Senate was unable to override President Trump’s veto of a resolution calling for an end to U.S. support of a Saudi Arabian-led military coalition in Yemen.
The bill, which was originally introduced by Sens. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) and Mike Lee (R-Utah) passed both chambers of Congress earlier this year. Sanders said in a statement when the resolution was originally introduced that Saudi Arabia is “causing the worst humanitarian disaster on the planet,” and the Senate showed the world it would no longer support them.
The Senate needed a two-thirds majority, or 67 votes, to override the veto but failed on a 53-45 vote, as Sens. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) and Michael Bennet (D-Colo.) did not vote. Sens. Jim Inhofe (R-Okla.) and James Lankford (R-Okla.) both voted against the bill and the veto override.
“I am relieved to see the Senate has upheld President Trump’s veto of this fundamentally misguided and ultimately dangerous resolution,” Inhofe said in a statement. “The President was correct in his message to the Senate: there are no U.S. troops engaged in unauthorized hostilities in Yemen.
“We should not have wasted additional floor time having this unnecessary debate.”
Gaylord News is a Washington reporting project of the Gaylord College of Journalism and Mass Communication at the University of Oklahoma.