On Tuesday, the caucus heard from ranchers, farmers and others affected by recent wildfires, droughts and storms across the country.
Members on the panel expressed concern that Congress has not been acting strongly enough to protect Americans affected by the extreme weather events.
“The extraction industries are getting what they’re paying for,” said Rep. Jim MoranJim MoranGOP Rep. Comstock holds on to Virginia House seat 10 races Democrats must win to take the House House Dem: Congress needs 'courage' to call for its own pay raise MORE (D-Va.). “This has been the most irresponsible Congress in terms of the magnitude of the crisis that we face. We’re looking the other way. We’re trying to pretend it doesn’t happen or lying with regard to the information that is certainly available to every member.”
Moran accused Republicans of trying to cut the legs out from underneath the Environmental Protection Agency and Energy Department during the appropriations process.
“The Congress is sleepwalking,” added Rep. Earl BlumenauerEarl BlumenauerStage set for Lujan challenge atop Dems' campaign arm We don't know how much we spend on disasters, and that needs to change Blumenauer backs legal pot — but not for his grandchildren MORE (D-Ore.).
This week, the Obama administration is expected to unveil draft regulations to limit the amount of greenhouse gas emissions from new power plants.
Republicans and the energy industry have been skeptical about the new rules. On Wednesday, Energy Secretary Ernest MonizErnest MonizFederal task force recommends safety upgrades for gas storage Energy secretary: ‘We got it right’ on Iran deal Overnight Energy: Trump visits Flint | GOP chairman defends subpoenas in climate probe MORE and EPA Administrator Gina McCarthyGina McCarthyEPA chief: Pipeline rejections are not a ‘policy signal’ Five potential Trump EPA picks Overnight Energy: EPA stands firm on fuel standards MORE will appear before the House Energy and Commerce Committee to discuss those rules and the president’s broader second-term efforts to crack down on climate threats.
Waxman predicted that Republicans on the committee would push back against the EPA chief's testimony.
“She’s going to hear from a lot of people who say ‘Why should we undertake the cost of doing these things?’” he said.
However, Waxman said that the potential prices to be paid by refusing to act with new pollution controls would be much higher.
“There’s enormous costs — enormous costs — financial and human, to the consequences of doing nothing about climate change,” he said.
Wednesday's hearing was being called “by people who don’t want to know about climate change, but we think it’s important,” he said.
Democrats said that the committee's hearing would miss the full picture by ignoring business owners and people affected firsthand by climate change.