John Cornyn Is No Climate Denier, But With Votes Like His, Does That Even Matter?

Back in 2014 when I was still fairly new to Washington as The News' business correspondent, I took part in a call between Sen. John Cornyn and Texas reporters, something the senator, to his credit, does regularly. I came away from that talk disheartened over the issue of climate change, and said so in a blog post that afternoon. I wrote that if we want to understand why Congress is doing nothing to combat climate change, we should focus not on the fire-breathing climate deniers, like Sen. Jim Inhofe, R-Okla. Rather it's the so-called moderate voices, like Cornyn's, who are most to blame for what was then, and still is, a stark refusal on part of the Republicans in Congress to take climate change as the threat it is. Cornyn's staff quickly called with his displeasure, and stressed, among other things, that I was letting the Senate Democrats off easy because they hadn't passed a climate change law -- and they were in the majority. I didn't find that persuasive then, and still don't. But I was reminded of that disagreement today as the Senate voted 52-46 to confirm Scott Pruitt as EPA administrator, despite having spent his career as Oklahoma attorney general trying to undermine the agency. Cornyn and Sen. Ted Cruz both voted in favor of Pruitt.As Texas' senators, they let us down. Back during that press call, Cornyn acknowledged that climate change was real. He also said that it was likely that human behavior is partly to blame for climate change, and that it could bring harmful consequences if it's not combated.  Continue reading...

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