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April 20, 2016

Barrasso: Illegal for U.S. to Send Money to U.N. Climate Fund

“According to a 1994 law, […] the United States cannot give any money to ‘an affiliated organization of United Nations’ that grants the Palestinians membership as a state.”

WASHINGTON, D.C.— Today, U.S. Senator John Barrasso (R-WY) delivered the following remarks on the Senate floor highlighting the illegality of sending U.S. taxpayer dollars to the United Nation’s Green Climate Fund. 

Transcript of Senator Barrasso’s remarks:

“On Friday, representatives from more than 130 countries are going to be gathering at the United Nation in New York to sign a broad, new climate change agreement. 

“This is the same agreement that countries negotiated in Paris last year. 

“Back in December, President Obama said that this was a ‘strong’ agreement. 

“Hillary Clinton called it a ‘historic step forward.’ 

“But for many, many Americans, it is actually going to be a giant step backward. 

“First, this agreement, I believe, is terrible for our economy. 

“The Obama administration is using this international agreement to force new regulations on American energy producers – and new restrictions on the American people

"There are new rules on coal producers.  

“There are new rules on American crude oil and liquefied natural gas. 

“This administration has spent years, years targeting the men and women who produce American energy – energy in our country. 

“Democrats and Republicans in Congress rejected the president’s radical ideas. 

“We knew that all of these regulations would cripple, cripple America’s energy industry – and would throw Americans out of work. Many in my home state of Wyoming. 

“We knew that all of these destructive rules would cost billions of dollars – and produce little or no positive benefit. 

“The Obama administration went ahead and ignored what the people wanted, and they wrote their dangerous new rules anyway.

“Mr. President, all of these regulations have consequences.

“My home state of Wyoming has seen thousands of hard-working men and women lose their jobs in the energy field just over the past few years – people working in oil, in gas, in coal and uranium.

“Just a few weeks ago, two of the largest coal mines in Wyoming announced that they would let go 15 percent of their workers – 465 families were affected by the job losses.

“Despite all of this pain, all of this pain, the Obama administration went out and promised the rest of the world that it was going to keep pushing for more restrictions on American energy. On red, white and blue energy.

“The other countries getting together in New York on Friday need to be aware that there are serious doubts about whether this administration is actually going to be able to do that.

“The administration has promised huge cuts to America’s greenhouse gas emissions. 

“But the promise has already run into legal trouble.

“The Supreme Court ordered the Environmental Protection Agency to stop enforcing the so-called Clean Power Plan. Stop enforcing it completely – until the courts can decide if it is even legal. 

“And I believe it’s not legal. 

“Now, the Obama administration has promised $3 billion to the United Nations for its climate change efforts. 

“Well, it turns out that giving away this money will violate U.S. law.  

“The money that the administration pledged was supposed to go to the Green Climate Fund.

“This is money that the United Nations plans to use to coerce, really coerce developing countries to go along with its climate change  of what I believe is a sideshow.

“Now, President Obama asked for $500 million for this fund in his budget last year. 

“So, what happened when the budget came here to the United States Senate where the president has a request? 

“Congress rejected the president’s budget 98-1. 

“You talk about bipartisan rejection, that’s it. 

“But, the administration went ahead and transferred the money anyway – even though the money was never authorized by Congress. 

“Now the president wants to give this Green Climate Fund another $750 million in taxpayer money. 

“A second climate change organization, it’s called the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change. 

“This organization is the foundation for funding this whole climate change agreement. 

“The administration has contributed to it in the past  – and it wants to send another $13 million next year. 

“Here’s the problem, and the legality that the administration faces as the administration tries to give away money to these international climate change groups: it’s now prohibited by law.

“You may ask why. 

“Well, it’s because last month – on March 17 – the U.N. officially recognized the so-called ‘State of Palestine.’ They said that the ‘State of Palestine’ is a full member of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change. 

“Well, according to a 1994 law, passed by the House, passed by the Senate, signed into law, the United States cannot give any money to ‘an affiliated organization of United Nations’ that grants the Palestinians membership as a state. 

“It’s called the 1994 Foreign Relations Authorization Act. 

“These climate change groups are clearly affiliated organizations of the U.N. 

“The United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change – the organization that the Palestinian group, this so-called ‘State of Palestine,  just joined as a member state – says on its own website that it is ‘institutionally linked’ to the U.N.

“There’s no denying it. 

“It says that the Green Climate Fund is one of it – it says - its ‘constituted bodies,’ so there’s a direct link. 

“And the law of the United States on this is clear. It is simple. It is unmistakable. 

“The pipeline of money that the Obama administration is planning to send to these organizations is shut off.

“That’s what happened in 2011, when the Palestinian group joined the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization – commonly known as UNESCO. 

“That triggered a similar 1990 law – and the United States has not given any money to UNESCO ever since. 

“Now, the Palestinians have been trying to get international organizations connected to the United Nations to recognize them as a state for a long time. 

“It’s part of their strategy. 

“They think that if they can get the rest of the world to recognize the ‘State of Palestine’, then it strengthens their hand in negotiations with Israel. 

“This strategy absolutely undercuts U.S. policy that says the Palestinians and the Israelis should be negotiating these things on their own – without the rest of the world getting involved. 

“Now, that’s the best way for Middle East peace negotiations to go forward – and it’s what both the Palestinians and the Israelis have agreed to in the past. 

“The U.S. law says that when the Palestinians try to go around that process – like we just saw with this climate change organization – there are legal consequences.

“That’s why a group of 28 senators wrote to Secretary of State John Kerry earlier this week.

“We wrote to demand that he follow the law. Obey the law of the land. 

“We wanted to make sure that the rest of the world understands clearly that it is unlawful for the United States to give another dime to these U.N. climate change groups. 

“The Obama administration skirted the will of Congress in the past when it sent $500 million of U.S. taxpayer money to these groups. 

“It will not get away with sending any more money in violation of the law. 

“The administration needs to understand this fact – and so do the rest of the countries getting together in New York on Friday. 

“The American people do not support shutting down our economy to support the administration’s promises on greenhouse gases. 

“The American people do not support the administration spending billions of their hard-earned tax dollars to support this alarming climate change agreement. 

“What the American people expect – they expect their president – and his administration – to follow and to obey the law.”