Republicans Will Try to Sabotage Re-Entry to Paris Agreement

December 23, 2020

Ted Cruz, of course.

We’ve reached the point where this is becoming suicidal for Republicans, – but lately, that hasn’t been stopping any of their actions.

Yahoo News:

Two prominent Trump loyalists in the US Senate, Ted Cruz and Lindsey Graham, are reportedly pressing the president to submit the Iran nuclear deal and the Paris climate agreement to the chamber for ratification, in a last-minute attempt to scupper Democratic plans to take America back into the accords.

In a letter obtained by RealClearPolitics, Cruz, from Texas, urges both Trump and Mike Pompeo, the secretary of state, to plant the seeds of an eventual showdown over the two critical international agreements in the early days of the Biden administration.

As Cruz describes it, by submitting the pacts to the Senate, Trump could pave the way for a vote that would fail to achieve the two-thirds needed to ratify them – thus blocking Joe Biden’s efforts to bring the US back in line with international allies.

Cruz sets out the cynical ploy in his letter. He begins by praising Trump’s decision to pull America out of both the 2015 Iran deal, which restricted its nuclear program in exchange for the lifting of sanctions, and the 2016 Paris accords on reducing global emissions of pollution responsible for the climate crisis.

“I urge you now to remedy the harm done to the balance of powers by submitting the Iran deal and the Paris agreement to the Senate as treaties,” Cruz writes. “Only by so doing with the Senate be able to satisfy its constitutional role to provide advice and consent in the event any future administration attempts to revive these dangerous deals.”

Biden has pledged to rejoin the Paris agreement “on day one of my presidency”. He has similarly indicated he would revive the Iran nuclear deal as a top foreign policy objective – in both cases using his executive powers rather than relying on Congress.

Cruz hopes that his tactic would cut across Biden’s intentions by declaring the accords foreign treaties which require two-thirds ratification in the Senate. Failure to achieve that margin – an impossible target in a narrowly divided chamber – would undercut any unilateral Biden move.

Real Clear Politics:

“Your administration has rightly changed course as a matter of substantive policy by withdrawing from both the Iran Deal and the Paris Agreement. This was a great accomplishment for the American people,” Cruz wrote.

“I urge you now also to remedy the harm done to the balance of powers by submitting the Iran Deal and the Paris Agreement to the Senate as treaties,” Cruz continued. “Only by so doing will the Senate be able to satisfy its constitutional role to provide advice and consent in the event any future administration attempts to revive these dangerous deals.”

Cruz has become a stalwart Trump ally, and if the president takes his advice, he could throw a wrench into the gears of the incoming administration before Biden can even fully nominate his Cabinet. The incoming president has promised that he would rejoin the Paris Agreement “on day one,” and pledged to revive the Iranian nuclear deal he helped negotiate as vice president. Republicans, meanwhile, are unified in their opposition to both.

A vote against them would signal GOP opposition to the world and, they hope, undermine any unilateral action by Biden to rejoin the agreements. One senior congressional aide told RCP that sending them to die in the Senate “would be the final nail in the coffin.”

6 Responses to “Republicans Will Try to Sabotage Re-Entry to Paris Agreement”

  1. J4Zonian Says:

    Cruz’s talk of “harm done to the balance of powers” means decreasing the utter US dominance of the world US rulers still believe to be true. Unfortunately, both halves of the corporate duopoly believe in it and work to keep whatever dominance they can prolong. Obama was doing that when he and his negotiators did everything they could to hold against the demands of most of the world to make Paris more demanding, even mandatory. That was never going to fly, at least not with goals that would change anything. So Paris was, and continues to be, a mass murder-suicide pact with the Earth. Getting back into it is a minor milepost we should notice as we fly past it (metaphorically, that is, in a high speed train) to more significant goals.

    Replacing at least 90% of fossil fuels with efficiency, wiser lives, and clean safe renewable energy by 2030. Massive sequestration of carbon through small-scale low-meat organic permaculture, and forestry. Transformation of industry to ecological forms.

    • rhymeswithgoalie Says:

      Replacing at least 90% of fossil fuels with efficiency, wiser lives, and clean safe renewable energy by 2030.

      Sounds nice, but you can’t change American behavior by fiat. We can’t even get a large chunk of the “adult” populace to wear masks in a fucking pandemic.

      • J4Zonian Says:

        Most people don’t commit murder even when they want to, because of the fiat against it. Most people don’t steal, even when they don’t feel connection and responsibility, because of anti-stealing fiats. Most people travel at about the speed limit, though they’ve learned through experience that it’s enforced with some leeway. And so on. Your choice of the word “fiat” is telling; the only thing the word is ever used for is so people associate whatever law someone is against at the moment with the whims of royalty and the corruption of fascists. In this case apparently it’s laws against destroying civilization and nature.

        “We” hardly tried to get people to wear masks. Laws about them were late, spotty, contradictory, and intermittent, and enforcement has been worse; in fact in some states corrupt leaders prohibited such laws while they set an example by denying the problem existed and pointedly refused to wear masks. Gee, I wonder why we can’t get people to wear masks.

        If we were serious about stopping the virus and had sane, non-corrupt leaders, we would have passed national laws mandating lockdown and mask wearing, and laws restricting travel (especially, prohibiting travel from areas disregarding safe practices) with a well-funded campaign to convince people.

        In fact, the most important changes wouldn’t require people to change their behavior much at all. They’d plug things in the same as always and get clean safe renewable electrons instead off sooty, carbon-soaked ones that cause mental deficiencies and cancer. Most of the behavioral changes we do need now, people did during WWII: traveled by mass transit, grew food, recycled more… Government policies like building the interstate system instead of improving rail reversed those worthwhile changes and then went farther, mostly because corporations lobbied and spread lies, including ones corrupting the deepest truths we knew.

        We know how to move the country to sustainability.
        First, we treat it like the emergency it is.

        Leading the public into emergency mode

        Though recognizing that we can’t just fall for and be manipulated by tu quoque arguments, leaders need to engage in selective symbolic example-setting. There’s a story about Ernest Shackleton tearing just a few pages out of a bible the queen gave him, and dropping the bible with the rest of his personal possessions, as a way to impress on his crew the need for unencumbered travel as they started across the ice.

        We pass laws to replace fossil fuels and waste with efficiency and clean safe renewable energy and in some cases, wiser lives. We tax the rich and corporations to pay for the rapid construction of generation, transmission, and other infrastructure. No fiats likely to be disliked are needed, except for taxes, and that’s nothing new. About 90% of people in the US want more wind and solar and more government help for them; large majorities (70-90%) want more climate action, social programs like universal health care, more education funding, higher taxes on the rich, and most of the other things that would require “fiats”.

        No, not every person follows the law. But if laws are passed, most people will follow them and the rest can either be dealt with legally or even just left to suffer the consequences of reality, as those who fail to adapt (move to 100% clean safe renewable energy in their state, eg.) will lag behind, economically, educationally, physical and mental health-wise, and culturally. Of course we can’t just allow them to fall behind, especially regarding RE; letting them stay poor, sick, and ignorant while polluting air, water, soil, and bodies would create more pockets of ignorant, racist conservatism, resentment, and resistance.

        We’ve stupidly allowed the lunatic right wing to use corporations and the 2 halves of the corporate duopoly to control our government and culture for decades. They’ve successfully spread the frame of individuality-as-everything; we need to effectively communicate the collective nature of both the danger and the heroic solutions to it—as Roosevelt did, brilliantly, and AOC is capable of, for example.

        Island hopping
        We need to deprive the oligarchic extremists of the ability to resist laws, deceive people, and warp laws and government. Fossil fuel, ICEV, agro-chemical, rail, banking and other corporations have abused their wealth and power to push the world to the edge; we need to divest, prosecute and fine, and nationalize them (with a truth and reconciliation escape hatch for their officers).

        Peaceful direct action is the best collective psychotherapy; the parallels between Gandhian activists and psychotherapists can make the difference between success and catastrophe. (The willingness to suffer insults and attacks without returning hatred and violence is a huge part of it.)

        Is all this likely? Hell, no. That’s why I keep saying we need a peaceful revolution; it’s the only way enough of it will happen to save us.

  2. doldrom Says:

    So far Iran is showing more and more willingness to just do anything the USA wants … Not. Attitudes towards America have hardened considerably over the last decade. Fewer and fewer can still imagine any kind of cultural exchange with the US on the basis of good will.

    • rhymeswithgoalie Says:

      I think their muted response to the recent assassination of Fakhrizadeh was an acknowledgement that they knew they were being baited into overt hostility that even Biden couldn’t ignore. The Iranian people seem to be doing a plausible job pushing back on the regime.

      I don’t see why we’re so much more worried about Iran than Saddam Hussein’s Iraq (whom we backed) or Saudi Arabia’s oppressive regime.

  3. Public perception of climate change has undergone a lot of shift since the Paris agreement in late 2015, even among Republicans. A vote to reject the Paris agreement could actually be pretty dangerous for many senate Republicans. I’m sure many would much rather avoid putting that so crystal clear on their record.

    So Trump probably won’t do this. I kind of wish Biden would, just to force them into a corner on this issue. Yes it would almost certainly fail ratification, which would hand Democrats a campaign issue to win on, in 2022 etc.

    Letting this come to a vote would be healthy in terms of demonstrating a faith in democracy to deal with this issue. I do think it was problematic for Obama to bypass the normal process and sign on to Paris targets using executive actions through the EPA. After all, what did it get us, five years later?

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