Two key Republicans on the House Oversight Committee are seeking a hearing with Climate Envoy John KerryJohn KerryClimate policies propel a growing dysfunction of Western democracies Kerry calls out countries that need to 'step up' on climate change Those on the front lines of climate change should be empowered to be central to its solution MORE to examine his diplomacy at the recent COP26 climate conference.
It’s a hearing they’re unlikely to get for now — as the minority party cannot set congressional hearings. But the request gives a window to an area of inquiry they could pursue if they retake the House in 2022.
“Given recent U.S. emissions commitments to world leaders authorized and given by Mr. Kerry, this Committee must be afforded the opportunity to examine the intricacies of Mr. Kerry’s dealings.” wrote Reps. James ComerJames (Jamie) R. ComerOvernight Defense & National Security — Senate looks to break defense bill stalemate Oversight GOP eyes records on Afghanistan withdrawal GOP seeks oversight hearing with Kerry on climate diplomacy MORE (Ky.) and Ralph NormanRalph Warren NormanA woke military is no defense at all — why Defense bill in current form must not pass Lawmakers increasingly anxious about US efforts against Russian hackers GOP seeks oversight hearing with Kerry on climate diplomacy MORE (S.C.), the top Republicans on the Oversight committee and its environment subcommittee respectively.
The pair also wrote in their Thursday letter that they’d like to examine the effect of the administration’s climate policies on the economy.
While at the global climate summit, Kerry and other U.S officials worked to reach a deal, which ultimately called for global emissions to be cut 45 percent by 2030, scaling down use of coal and phasing out fossil fuel subsidies.
Meanwhile, President BidenJoe BidenChina eyes military base on Africa's Atlantic coast: report Biden orders flags be flown at half-staff through Dec. 9 to honor Dole Biden heading to Kansas City to promote infrastructure package MORE has separately committed to cutting global emissions at least in half by 2030.
Responding to the Republicans' letter, Democrats said they're focused on tackling climate change, and characterized the GOP push as an attempt to score "political points."
"Addressing the climate crisis is a top priority for Democrats on the Oversight Committee, which is why we launched a major investigation into the role of the fossil fuel industry in fueling this crisis," a committee spokesperson said via email.
"It is unfortunate that our Republican colleagues seem more interested in scoring political points than addressing the grave threat climate change poses to our national security," the spokesperson added.
The spokesperson noted that the last time Kerry testified before the Oversight Committee, Republicans attached him and called his climate change warnings "alarmist."
The Hill has reached out to Kerry’s office for comment on the GOP letter.
The Democrat-led committee recently held a high profile hearing examining the extent to which the oil industry played a role in climate change disinformation. That hearing is apparently part of an ongoing investigation for which committee chairwoman Carolyn MaloneyCarolyn MaloneyFormer Washington Football Team cheerleaders, employees to protest outside stadium Oversight panel eyes excessive bail, jail overcrowding in New York City Senators call for Smithsonian Latino, women's museums to be built on National Mall MORE (D-N.Y.) recently issued subpoenas.
In their new letter, Comer and Norman called for the committee to focus instead on government policy.
“We encourage Committee Democrats to stop the streak of failed oversight hearings that have either attacked the American oil and gas industry or featured witnesses from outside the government,” they wrote.
“Instead, the Committee should hold a substantive hearing with a senior administration official to actually conduct real oversight over those with the ability to set policy.”