Rep. Kelly Applauds President Trump’s Announcement on Paris Agreement

Kelly introduced resolution with Sen. Mike Lee in 2015 to require that accord be sent to US Senate for ratification

WASHINGTON — U.S. Representative Mike Kelly (R-PA) – a member of the House Ways and Means Committee – issued the following statement today in support of the announcement by President Donald Trump to withdraw the United States from the Paris Climate Agreement, an international accord to which former President Barack Obama unilaterally committed the U.S. in 2016 despite widespread calls for it to be submitted to the U.S. Senate for advice and consent as a treaty (as characterized by the 1992 U.N. Framework Convention on Climate Change).

“Today’s announcement is great news for the American people. It is a victory for our economy, our sovereignty, and our Constitution. The Paris Agreement – which should have been considered a treaty from the very beginning – was written with Americans and their elected representatives as an afterthought. It would result in unfair domestic harm for American workers, taxpayers, consumers, manufacturers, and energy producers. We would shoulder most of the cost and gain no measurable reward. There’s a reason President Obama never submitted this accord to the Senate for proper approval: it would have been rejected as a very bad deal for America, and rightly so.

“I have complete confidence in our country’s ability to protect both our economy and our environment at the same time, and I applaud President Trump’s strong commitment to this goal. Moving forward, both the executive and legislative branches must work together to ensure that every international commitment that we follow primarily serves the interests of American citizens above all else. As elected leaders, the laws and policies we craft must reflect the needs of our constituents, not the demands of a global ideological trend. As the president admirably stated, he was ‘elected to represent the citizens of Pittsburgh, not Paris.’ I thank him for keeping this major promise and putting our country first.”

Excerpt of joint op-ed by Rep. Kelly and Sen. Lee at National Review Online (11/19/15):

For months, White House and State Department officials have insisted that President Obama has the legal authority to unilaterally commit the United States to a new climate agreement and that therefore he will not submit any deal reached in Paris to the Senate for its advice and consent.

Setting aside the dubious legal theories concocted to justify this position (theories that flatly contradict the understanding of the U.N. Framework Convention on Climate Change that has been universally accepted since its ratification in 1992) there’s one problem with President Obama’s gambit: Only Congress, not the executive, has the power to appropriate money.

Imprudent as it may be, the president is free to promise the world as much money as he pleases in the course of international negotiations. But, without the support of Congress, he is powerless to fulfill those promises.

To ensure that the foreign governments attending the climate talks in Paris are not confused about this point, members of both chambers and from both parties ought to assert with one voice that Congress will not send a dime of taxpayer money to the implementation of any agreement to which the Senate has not provided its advice and consent. 

That goes for the billions of dollars that President Obama has pledged to send to the “Green Climate Fund.” And it goes for any other funds that the Paris agreement would expect the United States to give to developing countries for clean-energy adaptation.

BACKGROUND: On November 19, 2015, Rep. Kelly and Sen. Mike Lee (R-UT) introduced a concurrent resolution (H. Con. Res. 97 and S. Con. Res. 25) in the House and Senate respectively to require that President Obama submit the Paris Agreement to the U.S. Senate for advice and consent, as demanded by the U.S. Constitution, before signing it. The resolution earned a total of 86 co-sponsors in the House and 33 co-sponsors in the Senate.

That same day, Rep. Kelly and Sen. Lee co-authored a joint op-ed for National Review Online detailing the purpose of their resolution, which can be read in full here.

On December 1, 2015, Rep. Kelly and Sen. Lee participated in a joint video interview video with The Hill to discuss the importance of their resolution, which can be viewed here.

On December 8, 2015, Rep. Kelly hosted a Special Order on the floor of the House of Representatives to bring attention to the domestic effects of the Paris Agreement and to emphasize the constitutionally-mandated role of the U.S. Senate in approving an international accord of such cost and character.