Schumer proposes Senate climate change select committee

Source: By Nick Sobczyk, E&E News reporter • Posted: Thursday, March 7, 2019

Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) today proposed a Senate version of the climate change select committee in yet another rebuttal to Republican rhetoric about the Green New Deal.

“Over the next few decades, climate change will affect every part of American life — our health, our economy, our national security, even our geography — so if there was ever an issue that demanded particular focus from this chamber, it’s climate change,” Schumer said in his morning remarks on the floor.

“That’s why today I’m introducing a resolution to create a select committee on climate change to correspond with the House committee created this year for the same purpose,” he said.

Senate leaders have devoted an unusual amount of time to climate change over the last few weeks, as Republicans blast the Green New Deal and Democrats question whether the GOP is still the party of climate skepticism.

The Green New Deal resolution, from Sen. Ed Markey (D-Mass.) and Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.), calls for a 10-year economic mobilization to transition the country to 100 percent renewable energy.

After the midterms, an early version of the proposal caused division in the Democratic caucus as the party debated how to structure the Select Committee on the Climate Crisis.

That House panel, chaired by Rep. Kathy Castor (D-Fla.), is poised to start hearings as soon as this month (E&E Daily, March 6).

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) isn’t likely to accept Schumer’s proposed Senate select panel. But Democrats see it as another way to question whether Republicans care about the issue or whether they even believe climate science.

“I understand my friends on the other side of the aisle don’t like the Green New Deal,” Schumer said. “OK, that’s fine. What’s your plan? Maybe a lot of members think they can get away without having to answer the question. They won’t.”