Yesterday's surprising deal on climate change between the US and China came about after a personal letter from President Obama to his Chinese counterpart last spring, reports the Guardian. But while Xi Jinping will presumably face no substantive opposition from Chinese lawmakers on the goals to cut carbon emissions, President Obama is in a much different boat, writes Alan Yuhas in a separate Guardian piece. It's true that this isn't a formal treaty and thus doesn't require Senate approval, but that doesn't mean Mitch McConnell and other Republicans are powerless. The president may have authority over the EPA, but it's Congress that has authority over the money it gets.
"When the next bill containing the EPA’s budget—or the next omnibus piece of legislation to keep the entire government running—comes round, Republicans can attach provisions called 'riders' that would undermine, defund, and restrict parts of the climate plan," writes Yuhas. As he and the Los Angeles Times point out, that could force Obama to choose between signing legislation that undermines his own agenda or vetoing it and triggering a government shutdown. Republicans have plenty of other legislative tricks at their disposal, and it's safe bet they'll use them: As lots of stories point out, Oklahoma Republican Jim Inhofe is taking over the Senate's environmental panel, and he's the author of a book called The Greatest Hoax: How the Global Warming Conspiracy Threatens Your Future.