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Palmer Notes Pending End of Paris Talks, Calls on Administration to Follow the Constitution

December 10, 2015
Press Release

For Immediate Release

Washington D.C. – Congressman Gary Palmer (R-AL), notes the coming end of the 21st session of the Conference of Parties, part of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, in Paris, France, and calls on the Obama Administration to submit any agreement reached to the Senate for ratification, as required under the Constitution.

This week, Congressman Palmer gave a speech on the floor of the House of Representatives on executive overreach, including discussing the signals by the Obama Administration that it intends to attempt to work around Congress concerning an agreement pursuant to the Paris talks.  You can watch the speech by clicking below:

https://youtu.be/rhvZrIbVqQU​

“As the people’s elected representatives - and I want to emphasize elected Representatives and not elected bystanders - it should be one of our top priorities to reassert Congress as the originator of laws and reassert Congressional accountability for the regulations issued by federal agencies by requiring a Congressional vote on the regulations that have a significant impact on the economy.”

A full transcript of his speech is below.

Palmer has been a consistent critic of executive overreach.  He has recently focused on the EPA’s attempts to regulate greenhouse gasses.  Last month, Palmer introduced H.R. 3880, the Stopping EPA Overreach Act, which would strip the EPA of the authority to regulate so-called “greenhouse gasses.”

For any additional questions, contact:

Cliff Smith, (202) 225-4921, clifford.smith@mail.house.gov
U.S. Representative Gary Palmer (R-AL) serves on three Congressional committees: Oversight and Government Reform, Budget, and Science, Space and Technology.  Visit Palmer online at his website or via Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram.

Text of Speech:

Thank you Mr. Speaker, and I want to thank my colleague from Pennsylvania, Mr. Rothfus, and I want to commend my colleague and friend Mr. Kelley for his eloquent and passionate defense of Constitutional government. 

It’s not just the Administration’s efforts to ratify something and bypass Congress without any input from us, but they are also making laws through agencies such as EPA.  We’re engaged right now in a debate over the Clean Power Plan, which is a reiteration of Cap and Trade, it’s all about regulating greenhouse gasses.   And they’ve started this process because in 2007, the Supreme Court, in a 5-4 decision, said the Clean Air Act gave the EPA the authority to regulate greenhouse gas emissions. 

Not everyone agrees with that.  As you see here on the easel, I have a quote from former Michigan Representative John Dingell, and this is what he had to say about the Supreme Court’s decision in Massachusetts v. EPA: “Like most members of this committee, I think the Supreme Court came up with a very much erroneous decision on whether the Clean Air Act covers greenhouse gases. Like many of the members of this committee I was present when we wrote that legislation. We thought it was clear enough that it did not, that we didn’t clarify it thinking that even the Supreme Court was not stupid enough to make that finding.” 

I want to state for the record, Mr. Speaker, that I am in no way making personal references to the members of the court, particularly the five who voted for that decision.  That’s Mr. Dingell’s opinion.  But I think it’s clear that it was never Congress’s intent to allow the EPA to do this.  The point here is, we’ve had a debate over regulating greenhouse gasses; we did that in 2010 in the form of the Cap and Trade bill.  And Congress, with Democrat majorities in both houses, said “No.” 

And yet the President is intent on making the United States party to a legally binding agreement to reduce greenhouse gas emissions that will have almost no measurable impact on global temperatures.  The EPA has admitted that in testimony before the Science Committee.  This is basically a public relations effort to encourage other nations to reduce their greenhouse gas emissions.  And as Mr. Rothfus has pointed out, the cost on the American economy, particularly low income families, will be enormous; also on single income households and senior citizens.

Even the former lead author of the International Panel on Climate Change report, Philip Lloyd, who is one of the former lead authors, asserted in a new paper that there is a strong likelihood that the major portion of the observed warming is due to natural variation.  If it’s due to natural variation, there is little to nothing we can do about it. 

Congress has been bypassed by the EPA and other federal agencies for too long.  It’s time to stand up and reassert ourselves as the sole body empowered to make law under the Constitution.  The debate over greenhouse gasses and climate change is not the central issue.  This is really about the EPA and this administration usurping the authority of Congress to make law.  As my friend from Pennsylvania, Mr. Kelly, explained, the issue is that the authority of Congress - and consequently the right of Americans to representation - to writes this nations laws is being seriously diminished. 

Under our Constitution, Congress makes the law, and is held accountable by the people through elections.  The effort to restrain the EPA is more than a policy position on an issue, but a matter of the fidelity to the Constitution and the clear separation of powers doctrine that is essential to the successful functioning of our Government.  As the people’s elected representatives - and I want to emphasize elected Representatives and not elected bystanders - it should be one of our top priorities to reassert Congress as the originator of laws and reassert Congressional accountability for the regulations issued by federal agencies by requiring a Congressional vote on the regulations that have a significant impact on the economy.  This would have a devastating impact on the economy.  By doing so, not only would the economy benefit, but the representative and accountable government will be restored in the process. 

I urge all my colleagues to support my friend from Pennsylvania’s resolution to require that the President submit any agreement reached in Paris to the Senate for their advice and consent.   I yield the balance of my time.