GOP fighting 'misleading' Democratic forums on House Natural Resources Committee

GOP fighting 'misleading' Democratic forums on House Natural Resources Committee
© Greg Nash

Republicans on the House Natural Resources Committee are again accusing their Democratic counterparts of misusing committee resources to stage forums that exclude the minority.

The coronavirus pandemic has limited the formal hearing schedule for the committee, but Democrats have held a dozen virtual events since April listed as “NRDems Forum” on the committee page.

Committee Republicans are asking Chairman Raúl Grijavla (D-Ariz.) to cease the forums immediately, calling them “deliberately misleading.”

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“The ongoing use and operation of the committee’s broadcast systems is neither fair, nor bipartisan,” they wrote in a letter spearheaded by Rep. Bruce WestermanBruce Eugene WestermanInterior stresses 'showing up for work' after Grijalva tests positive for coronavirus Tuberville breaks DC self-quarantine policy to campaign Natural Resources Democrats again rebuff Republican complaints about virtual meetings MORE (R-Ark.).

“These meetings, which have taken place without Minority involvement, are strictly partisan in nature. With titles such as 'Behind the Curtain: The Trump Administration's Fossil Fuel Agenda During the Pandemic,' Minority members and staff have not been given the opportunity to participate in the planning or execution of these meetings, much less offer a witness or prepare members,” the letter continued.

Grijalva’s office said he would respond to Westerman via letter. 

The committee’s Republicans have been upset about the forums since they first began.

Ranking member Rep. Rob BishopRobert (Rob) William BishopTrump signs major conservation bill into law Overnight Energy: House passes major conservation bill, sending to Trump | EPA finalizes rule to speed up review of industry permits House passes major conservation bill, sending it to Trump's desk MORE (R-Utah) in an April letter to Grijalva accused the panel’s Democrats of denying minority rights under House rules.

“Instead of adopting a more collaborative process during this time, you appear to use the circumstances of a crisis to circumvent transparency and avoid opposing viewpoints,” he wrote.

Grijalva argued at the time that there is “nothing inappropriate or even unusual about the events we have held” and said the committee would continue to do so. 

“To the extent committee Republicans have concerns about the harm coronavirus is having on the American people, I urge you to arrange roundtable discussions of your own, which are authorized under current House and committee rules,” he said.