Dems cancel plans to bring in Republican as climate change witness

Dems cancel plans to bring in Republican as climate change witness
© Greg Nash

Democrats on the House Ways and Means Committee have rescinded an invitation to former GOP Rep. Carlos CurbeloCarlos Luis CurbeloDisinvited GOP lawmaker turns up at Dem hearing Overnight Energy: 2020 rivals rip Biden over expected 'middle ground' climate plan | Dems cancel plans to invite Republican to testify on climate change | House passes .2B disaster aid bill over Trump objections Dems cancel plans to bring in Republican as climate change witness MORE (Fla.) to testify at a hearing on climate change next week.

Curbelo, a centrist who lost his reelection bid in November, told The Hill that the panel had changed his plans and said he was asking them to reconsider because he had made plans to travel to Washington.

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“I just got an email a little while ago and I was actually finalizing my testimony to send into the committee but then I got an email from Andrew Grossman the chief tax counsel notifying me that the chairman for reasons beyond his control had to withdraw the invitation,” Curbelo told The Hill.

“And I've asked him to reconsider because I actually modified my travel schedule so I could accommodate this hearing, which I think is important and it was a signal to me that Democrats were truly interested in bipartisan solutions rather than exploiting this issue for political gain,” he said.

Curbelo said he was not given a reason for the change in plans. The Hill has reached out to the committee for comment.

“I am the bearer of some unfortunate news. Due to circumstances beyond my control, I am afraid that I need to withdraw the Chairman’s prior invitation to testify at Wednesday’s hearing,” states the email to Curbelo, which was obtained by The Hill. “Mr. Neal genuinely appreciates your willingness to testify, and looks forward to working with you in the future on matters related to our climate crisis.”

Ways and Means Committee Chairman Richard NealRichard Edmund NealRepublicans attempt to amend retirement savings bill to include anti-BDS language House votes to boost retirement savings Steyer plans impeachment push targeting Democrats over recess MORE (D-Mass.) had initially invited Curbelo, a former member of the panel, to testify.

The Florida Republican — one of the few outspoken GOP advocates for using a carbon tax as a way to combat climate change  — was expected to discuss carbon pricing at the hearing, which is scheduled to take place next Wednesday.

Republicans on the panel criticized the decision to pull the invitation.

“Republicans were looking forward to a bipartisan, solutions-based hearing for this growing national problem. With Chairman Neal rescinding his invitation of former Republican member, Carlos Curbelo, it’s clear progressive Democrats decided to make this a partisan political exercise instead,” a spokesman for committee Republicans said.
 
Curbelo said despite the retraction, he still plans to make his testimony public.

“If they don’t reinstate the invitation I'm going to go ahead and make my testimony public for anyone who cares to review,” Curbelo said, adding that he will likely show up next week even if Democrats don’t reinvite him to appear.

Curbelo had introduced legislation during the 115th Congress that would have repealed the federal excise tax on gasoline and replaced it with a $24 per metric ton levy on coal and natural gas emissions. It was met with pushback a large portion of the GOP conference, arguing it could have an adverse effect on the economy.