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Republicans move to end car emissions hearing early due to impeachment proceedings

Republicans move to end car emissions hearing early due to impeachment proceedings
© Greg Nash

Republicans and Democrats clashed during an Oversight and Reform subcommittee hearing on Tuesday, after GOP lawmakers argued the proceeding conflicted with ongoing impeachment depositions and moved to dismiss.

“We have to be in a deposition on this unfair, partisan impeachment process you are running,” Rep. Paul GosarPaul Anthony GosarRep. Gosar denounces 'white racism' after controversial appearance Texas attorney general hits links with Trump before CPAC appearance Madison Cawthorn doesn't regret participating in Jan. 6 'Stop the Steal' rally MORE (R-Ariz.) said.

In his opening statement, ranking member James ComerJames (Jamie) R. ComerPelosi says 9/11-style commission to investigate Capitol breach is 'next step' Biden terminates Trump emergency order used to construct border wall GOP scrutiny intensifies on firing of NLRB top attorney MORE (R-Ky.) criticized Democrats for scheduling hearings during the ongoing impeachment proceedings.

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“The majority is creating a difficult scheduling conflict for members of this subcommittee. On one hand, we have today’s hearing, on the other we have a deposition related to the majority's impeachment of the president,” he said.

“I believe the Democrats' impeachment inquiry needs our members' attention, and I hope going forward we can agree to avoid this type of scheduling conflict.”

The call to adjourn was the second time Republicans had used such a tactic to end a hearing due to low attendance. Republicans in February successfully prematurely concluded a Natural Resources Committee hearing on climate change after only two Democrats were in attendance. Democratic lawmakers at the time called the move a stunt.

The purpose of the House Oversight and Reform Subcommittee on Environment hearing on environment was to discuss the Trump administration’s changes to federal car emissions standards. Former California Gov. Jerry Brown (D) was on hand as one of the key witnesses set to testify.

The hearing was occurring simultaneously with an impeachment deposition of White House official Alexander Vindman. Not all House lawmakers are eligible to sit in the secure room where the impeachment depositions are taking place. 

At the time of Gosar’s request for a roll call vote, only four Democrats were attending the hearing. Democrats delayed the vote by nearly 25 minutes. 

"We have an entire political party that’s trying to get out of their job and adjourn this hearing," Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-CortezAlexandria Ocasio-CortezDemocrats don't trust GOP on 1/6 commission: 'These people are dangerous' Progressives fume over Senate setbacks Budget Committee chair pledges to raise minimum wage: 'Hold me to it' MORE (D-N.Y.) said of Republicans during the proceedings.

The final vote had six lawmakers in favor of dismissing the hearing and seven against.

“I have to say I’m very disappointed in these antics. I have been in the [sensitive compartmented information facility] room for many of these witness depositions. Many of the members who have been afforded the ability to go there, have not been in many of those depositions,” said Rep. Harley RoudaHarley Edwin RoudaCalifornia was key factor in House GOP's 2020 success Here are the 17 GOP women newly elected to the House this year Rundown of the House seats Democrats, GOP flipped on Election Day MORE (D-Calif.) chairman of the subcommittee, following the vote.

“The fact that they seem to want to make it an issue now clearly shows they care more about the process, and trying to prevent the good work of this committee to do the investigative work its obligated to do under the Constitution, [in order] to protect the president at all costs instead of doing their duty, is disappointing."

Witnesses finally gave their opening statements more than 35 minutes into the hearing’s start.