By Molly K. Hooper - 12/10/09 01:28 AM EST
A political scuffle has broken out about which lawmakers will be allowed to go to Copenhagen, Demark, on a congressional delegation led by Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.).
Days before legislators are scheduled to discuss global warming at a climate change summit, accusations flew about the politics of who gets a codel invitation.
Pelosi is expected to lead the codel, according to lawmakers preparing to accompany her.
Rep. James Sensenbrenner Jr. (R-Wis.), ranking member of the Select Committee on Energy Independence and Global Warming, said on Tuesday that he was charged with choosing the GOP lawmakers to accompany the distinguished delegation.
Despite telling Issa he was on the list, Sensenbrenner may have spoken too soon, sources say.
In an interview with The Hill, Issa, the top Republican on the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, said, “Jim announced that I was his choice, and he was told he could pick somebody; he picked me, and apparently that is off.”
Issa suggested that politics, not a lack of seats on the plane, is the reason why he is now not on the list.
“It’s really a question of whether they are excluding someone who has a different opinion than ‘Isn’t this wonderful?,’” Issa said, noting that there is still a possibility that he would be allowed on the trip. Around 20 House members are expected to be on the codel.
Issa announced his intention to “enlighten” members of the world community as to what he says is the “questionable science” of climate change.
He points to “Climategate,” the suppression of e-mails between climatologists at the Climate Research Unit in Norwich, England, as a leading reason why climate change skeptics need to be heard before pressing ahead with cap-and-trade carbon-reduction treaties.
Democratic aides disputed Issa’s suggestion that he was targeted, noting that other climate change critics, including Rep. Joe Barton (R-Texas), will be on the codel.
Dozens of members on both sides of the aisle requested to join the Speaker on the official House delegation’s trip to the international climate change talks.
Most of the lawmakers who nabbed formal invites serve on the House global warming panel and/or the Energy and Commerce Committee.
Pelosi’s office would not confirm details of the trip. Pelosi spokesman Drew Hammill said the trip will depend on the schedule of the House, adding that “a bipartisan group of members has expressed interest in attending.”
The House is scheduled to be in session and is trying to finish a jobs bill by the end of next week. Hammill said Pelosi’s first priority “is the unfinished business of the House.”
Climate change is Pelosi’s flagship issue. The House passed a cap-and-trade bill, 219-212, in June. A companion measure is expected to be taken up by the Senate in the spring.
Other members who may be on the Pelosi-led codel include Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (D-Md.) and Reps. John Larson (D-Conn.), Emanuel Cleaver (D-Mo.), John Hall (D-N.Y.), Shelley Moore Capito (R-W.Va.), Bart Gordon (D-Tenn.), Jay Inslee (D-Wash.), Marsha Blackburn (R-Tenn.), Fred Upton (R-Mich.) and John Shadegg (R-Ariz.). Rep. Chris Van Hollen (D-Md.) was invited, but is unable to attend, according to a Democratic aide.
Rep. Edward Markey (D-Mass.), chairman of the Select Committee on Energy Independence and Global Warming, and Rep. Henry Waxman (D-Calif.), chairman of the Energy and Commerce Committee, plan to attend. House Agriculture Committee Chairman Collin Peterson (D-Minn.), who was something of a headache for Democratic leaders in pressing for farm-friendly provisions in the climate bill before the House vote, is also expected to attend.
A spokesman for Hoyer said the trip was “under consideration” but that plans had not been finalized. Other offices were not immediately available to comment.
A few senators will also travel to Copenhagen, including Sens. John Kerry (D-Mass.) and James Inhofe (R-Okla.).
President Barack Obama intends to be there on Dec. 18, the final day of the two-week conference.
Jim Snyder contributed to this article.