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 GosarPelosi must go — the House is in dire need of new leadership LWCF modernization: Restoring the promise Trump tweets his people have all left Drudge MORE (R-Ariz.) said.

In his opening statement, ranking member James ComerJames (Jamie) R. ComerHouse panel advances bill to ban Postal Service leaders from holding political positions House Republicans investigating California secretary of state's contract with Biden-linked firm GOP lawmakers want answers from Disney on Mulan, China 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-CortezTrump Jr on father's taxes: 'People don't understand what goes into a business' Ocasio-Cortez: Trump contributed less in taxes 'than waitresses and undocumented immigrants' Will Democrats attempt to pack the Supreme Court again? 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 RoudaUS Chamber of Commerce set to endorse 23 House freshman Democrats OVERNIGHT ENERGY: Watchdog to weigh probe of Trump advancements on Pebble Mine | Interior finalizes public lands HQ move out West over congressional objections | EPA to issue methane rollback: report Watchdog to weigh probe of Trump administration advancements of Pebble Mine 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.