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House Dems formalize climate committee plans without Green New Deal language

House Democrats have formally proposed creating a new committee on climate change, without many of the main factors that progressives wanted in the panel’s structure.

Democratic leaders unveiled the plans for the “Select Committee on the Climate Crisis” late Tuesday as part of a package of rules to govern House proceedings for the next two years.

The proposed rules, which the House will vote to adopt Thursday when Democrats formally take the chamber’s majority, say the select committee is instructed “to investigate, study, make findings, and develop recommendations on policies, strategies, and innovations to achieve substantial and permanent reductions in pollution and other activities that contribute to the climate crisis which will honor our responsibility to be good stewards of the planet for future generations.”

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As has been reported in recent weeks, the panel will not have many of the features that Rep.-elect Alexandria Ocasio-CortezAlexandria Ocasio-CortezTrump tweets Thanksgiving criticism of NFL QBs for kneeling Kamala Harris, Stacey Abrams among nominees for Time magazine's 2020 Person of the Year Ocasio-Cortez, Cruz trade jabs over COVID-19 relief: People 'going hungry as you tweet from' vacation MORE (D-N.Y.), dozens of other Democrats and hundreds of activists have asked for to lead to a “Green New Deal.”

The panel will not have the power to subpoena or depose, nor will it have the authority to vote on legislation and send it directly to the House floor for a vote.

It also is not being explicitly charged with developing Green New Deal legislation, which supporters envision as bringing the county to 100 percent renewable electricity and decarbonizing major industries over 10 years, as well as a universal jobs guarantee and other ideas.

Nonetheless, Rep. Kathy CastorKatherine (Kathy) Anne CastorProgress toward managing rising seas US to exit Paris accord whether Trump or Biden wins Democrats see Green New Deal yielding gains despite GOP attacks MORE (D-Fla.), who likely Speaker Nancy PelosiNancy PelosiGovernors take heat for violating their own coronavirus restrictions Spending deal clears obstacle in shutdown fight Ocasio-Cortez, Cruz trade jabs over COVID-19 relief: People 'going hungry as you tweet from' vacation MORE (D-Calif.) designated chairwoman of the select committee, said the Green New Deal will inspire the panel’s work.

“There’s some fabulous proposals in the Green New Deal, and I’m excited about all that. You may see some similar language. Clearly, the focuses are going to be the same,” she told The Hill last month. “This will be a committee clearly in the spirit of the Green New Deal."

The climate committee also will not prohibit from its rolls lawmakers who have accepted campaign donations from the fossil fuel industry, another request from Green New Deal supporters.

Progressives have lauded Pelosi and other leaders for the panel, but expressed disappointment that it wouldn’t be as strong as they had hoped.

“This committee, if it turns out that the rumors about it are true, sounds about as useful as a screen door on a submarine,” Corbin Trent, a spokesman for Ocasio-Cortez, told The Hill last week. “As it’s portrayed it’s going to be completely incapable of solving the greatest threat to human kind.”

Ocasio-Cortez took to Twitter on Monday and accused leaders of rejecting her climate agenda as “too controversial.”

The climate committee will have 15 members under the rules unveiled Tuesday, nine Democrats and six Republicans.