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Climate Change Action in a Sea of Amendments

When it comes to legislation in Congress, action often happens in the corners and cracks, rather than out on the broad stage of the familiar acts that you’ll hear about on the TV news. For example, Barbara Boxer introduced an amendment yesterday to an amendment that was introduced by John Barrasso, that in turn amended another amendment by Herb Kohl, which amended H.R. 2997, an agricultural appropriations bill.

Though it was an amendment to an amendment to an amendment to a bill, Boxer’s bit of legislation would have accomplished something important. Boxer’s amendment would have required a full and balanced assessment of the impact of climate change legislation on agriculture, forestry and fishing, including both the cost of the adjustments provoked by the legislation, and the costs associated with rapid climate change itself that could be avoided through the implementation of climate change legislation. This would have changed Barrasso’s amendment, which would have established a lopsided assessment of only the downsides of climate change legislation.

There were over 350 amendments to Herb Kohl’s amendments which were considered. Senator Boxer’s amendment was not among those that passed.

H.R. 2997, the larger appropriations bill, passed the Senate yesterday without a single mention of climate change in it. Senator Boxer voted for the bill. Senator Barrasso did not.

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