Sen. David Vitter (R-La.) sent a letter to President Obama on Monday urging him to send an administration official to a hearing this week and defend his proposals to address climate change.
Vitter said he’s skeptical Senate Environment and Public Works Committee Chairwoman Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.) will maintain pledges to make the White House testify at a later hearing.
Vitter has previously pressed Boxer to include Obama administration officials, saying the hearing offered an opportunity for the White House to defend the climate plan the president unveiled last month.
Republicans and industry have attacked the Obama initiative, which relies on a series of executive actions that don't require congressional approval. They say the regulations the president calls for would have a damaging effect on the economy.
"The American people should not be kept in the dark regarding the scope of the actions your Administration is taking under the guise of controlling our climate – actions that have the potential to negatively impact employment, job creation, and our national debt," Vitter wrote.
Boxer has said she wants to keep the hearing focused on the science of climate change.
The California senator told reporters last week that Thursday’s hearing is just the first in a series the committee intends to hold on climate change, and that she’d look into sending invites to federal officials for future proceedings.
“I’m trying to keep politics out of this first hearing, and trying to focus in on non-political people who are scientists to give us an update on the science, but we will look at political people in the next round,” Boxer said.
Liberal Democrats in both chambers have hammered Republicans for resisting the scientific consensus that human activity contributes to greenhouse gas emissions that drive climate change.
Some GOP lawmakers deny the planet is getting warmer, while others say climate change is occurring but are unsure of humanity's role.
The witness list for Thursday’s hearing includes experts from a range of political views and backgrounds. E2-Wire’s Ben Geman has that here.