Dems whip global warming committee

Anticipating opposition from Republicans on what is normally a housekeeping matter, House Democrats are whipping an amendment to create a select committee on energy independence and global warming.

The committee funding resolution, a measure that finances the operations of House committees during the two-year congressional session, has drawn bipartisan support in past years. If approved by the Rules Committee, the measure will reach the House floor today.

When Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) proposed creating the panel earlier this year, House Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman John Dingell (D-Mich.) objected to the idea because it would strip his committee of its jurisdiction. After three weeks of negotiating, Pelosi and Dingell reached an agreement that the committee would be temporary and have no legislative authority.

But Democratic leaders worry Republicans and some Democrats concerned about stricter environmental regulations could oppose the measure because it includes the creation of the global warming panel. With a 15-vote majority, they want to leave nothing to chance.

“We want to win. Why else do you whip a vote?” Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (D-Md.) told reporters Tuesday.

Majority Whip James Clyburn (D-S.C.) sent an e-mail to Democratic lawmakers Tuesday morning asking them whether they would support an amendment to create the select panel. Lawmakers were told to respond by 4 p.m.
“Despite efforts to operate in a bipartisan manner, Republicans may oppose the rule and the resolution if the select committee language is included. Will you support the passage of the Committee Funding Resolution [and] language to create and authorize the Select Committee?” Clyburn wrote.

A Republican leadership aide said Minority Whip Roy Blunt (R-Mo.) would not whip the vote.

The timing of the vote surprised some lawmakers on the Energy and Commerce panel. They contacted the committee to find out whether Dingell would go along with the funding resolution.

“Many of you have contacted our office asking whether Chairman Dingell plans to support the upcoming resolution to fund the House Committees, as that resolution may also create the new select committee on climate change,” Gregg Rothschild, the chief counsel on the Energy and Commerce Committee, wrote in an e-mail Tuesday.

“As of this point, Mr. Dingell is still awaiting to review the language creating the new committee. He fully intends to support the resolution, so long as the language creating the committee reflects his prior conversations with the Speaker,” he continued.

A Democratic leadership aide said the language in the amendment would reflect the agreement between Pelosi and Dingell.

House Resolution 202 would provide more than $284 million — a 2.4 percent across-the-board funding increase for all 20 House committees and one of the smallest increases in the past 12 years, according to an e-mail from Clyburn to House Democrats. One-third of the funding for staff and resources would go to House Republicans.

The e-mail explained that the workload of committees is usually greater during the second session of Congress.