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10 House Republicans will stage ‘mini-rebellion’ breaking with GOP on climate change: ‘They care what the future is’

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U.S. Speaker of the House John Boehner answers questions at the U.S. Capitol December 2, 2014 in Washington, DC (AFP Photo/Win Mcnamee)

Nearly a dozen Republican members of Congress will break ranks with leaders of their party on Thursday, and call for action against climate change.

The mini-rebellion a week before the pope visits Congress appears timed to ratchet up the pressure on Republican presidential candidates and congressional leaders to soften a party line of casting doubt – or simply denying – the existence of climate change.

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Related: Pope Francis faces challenge persuading US’s Catholic leaders on climate change

So far, at least 10 House Republicans have signed on to the resolution acknowledging that human activity contributes to climate change, and calling for actions to respond to the threat of climate change.

The res­ol­u­tion was drafted by Chris Gibson, a former US army colonel and congressman from New York who is not seeking re-election.

The resolution, calling for “conservative environment stewardship” was endorsed by representatives Ileana Ros-Le­htin­en and Car­los Cur­belo of Flor­ida, Robert Dold of Illinois, Dave Reich­ert of Wash­ing­ton, Pat Mee­han, Ry­an Cos­tello, and Mike Fitzpatrick of Pennsylvania, and Richard Hanna and Elise Stefanik of New York, according to the National Journal.

A number of those representatives are also not seeking re-election or are from moderate districts.

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Campaigners who have been working for months to break Republicans’ blanket climate denial said they were hoping for more converts.

Catholic climate activists said on Wednesday they were planning to deliver copies of the pope’s encyclical on climate change – a sweeping denunciation of environmental degradation and global inequality – to each of the 166 Republican members of Congress.

Church leaders were also pushing Congress to support Barack Obama’s climate change plan and fund climate aid for developing countries.

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“It gives us a more dynamic entry to treat the issue,” Oscar Cantu, the bishop of Las Cruces, told a news conference in Washington.

It is unclear how the Republican leadership will respond. The party has vowed to defeat Barack Obama’s plan to cut carbon pollution from power plants, the pillar of his plan to fight climate change.

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The House speaker, John Boehner, has sidestepped the issue of climate change, saying: “I am not a scientist.” A number of Republican presidential candidates including Senator Ted Cruz of Texas deny the existence of climate change. Others, such as former senator Rick Santorum and former governor Jeb Bush have called on the pope to steer clear of the issue – although Bush later softened his language.

Democrats and campaigners had been quietly cultivating moderate house Republicans for months to try to neutralise the highly partisan profile of energy and climate change issues.

The pope, and his framing of climate change as a moral issue – rather than an economic or scientific concern – provided the perfect opportunity, according to Alan Lowenthal, a Democratic member of the House from California and a leader of the Same Climate Caucus.

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“Behind the scenes there are Republicans who understand they can not be in denial and we are being supportive of them,” he said in an interview last June around the time of the Pope’s sweeping pastoral letter on climate change. “They care what the future is. They just find it difficult to be out there all alone, and maybe this will give them the courage to move forward.”

By any standards outside of those of Republicans in Congress – where a majority denies the human contribution to climate change, or opposes action on climate change – the resolution would be seen as exceedingly timid.

It calls on the house to “study and address the causes and effects of measured changes to our global and regional climates”.

The formulation is bound to outrage some because there is of course no doubt that climate change is caused by rising concentrations of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases in the atmosphere.

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The resolution also limits the potential scope of any action, saying efforts to deal with climate change should not impose any costs on the economy.

But after five years in which Republicans have blocked all efforts to deal with climate change, it’s a start.

guardian.co.uk © Guardian News and Media 2015


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Rosh Hashanah services interrupted by death of the first Jewish woman on the Supreme Court

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The death of the first Jewish woman on the U.S. Supreme Court interrupted Rosh Hashanah services on Friday evening.

"On Friday, Jewish people around the country celebrating Rosh Hashanah were stunned to learn that Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, a prominent member of their own tribe, had died," the HuffPost reported. "People received alerts, Zoom messages and announcements from their rabbis about Ginsburg Friday night."

While many people were saddened by the passing of the iconic jurist, Twitter user Leora Horwitz noted a silver lining.

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2020 Election

‘Big mistake’: Trump’s favorite pollster tells Fox News why Republicans shouldn’t push nomination before the election

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Fox News on Friday examined why it would be a "big mistake" for Republicans to attempt to force through a nominee to replace Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg on the Supreme Court.

Following Ginsburg's death, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) vowed that Trump's nominee would receive a vote, but did not specify whether it would occur before the election or during the "lame duck" session of Congress that occurs before the 2020 election victors are sworn in.

But conservative pollster Scott Rasmussen warned Republicans it would be a bad idea during an appearance with Fox News personality Laura Ingraham.

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LISTEN: Mourners sing ‘Amazing Grace’ outside the Supreme Court to celebrate Ruth Bader Ginsburg

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Heartwarming videos were shared on social media on Friday night showing the spontaneous gathering at the Supreme Court following the death of Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg.

The large crowd, with many people wearing masks, sang the hymn "Amazing Grace."

Here are some of the videos of the scene:

A moving moments as dozens join in to sing “Amazing Grace” on the steps of the Supreme Court. pic.twitter.com/NGZyZi4YR4

— Mike Balsamo (@MikeBalsamo1) September 19, 2020

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