Overnight Energy: GOP lawmaker parodies Green New Deal in new bill | House Republicans accuse Dems of ramming through climate bill | Park Service chief grilled over shutdown

GOP LAWMAKER PARODIES GREEN NEW DEAL: Republicans have an answer to the Green New Deal climate resolution in the form of a new parody bill unveiled on Wednesday.

Rep. Matt GaetzMatthew (Matt) GaetzState probes of Google, Facebook to test century-old antitrust laws Five takeaways on Trump's ouster of John Bolton GOP lawmakers, states back gunmaker in Sandy Hook appeal MORE (R-Fla.) revealed his new resolution, dubbed the Green Real Deal, calling it a conservative re-imagining of the progressive climate plan first introduced by Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-CortezAlexandria Ocasio-CortezOcasio-Cortez calls for Kavanaugh to be impeached Why are we turning a blind eye to right-wing incitement of violence? Bill Maher, Michael Moore spar over Democrats' strategy for 2020 MORE (D-N.Y.).

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His logo for the resolution crosses out the "new" in Green New Deal and replaces the word with "real" written in Comic Sans font, a choice, Gaetz said, that was designed to mock the plan.

"We need a better metric that looks at our utilization of renewables and adoption of those worldwide," Gaetz told reporters Wednesday, while wearing a lime-green tie.

"This is not a problem that one party can solve, it's not a problem one nation can solve."

What's actually in the measure: Gaetz's resolution identifies climate change as a threat to national security and calls on the U.S. to wield innovation to battle global warming, invest in green energy technology and pass tax credits for homeowners to invest in energy efficiency measures.

It does not lay out any timetables for reducing carbon emissions in the U.S. and instead states that the U.S. has successfully reduced greenhouse gas emissions over the last decade.

But Gaetz promised sincerity in the plan Wednesday, telling reporters he was committed to leading his party to find ways to address global warming.

"History will judge harshly my Republican colleagues who deny the science of climate change," he said. "I didn't come to Congress to argue with a thermometer."

Other initiatives highlighted in his resolution include modernizing the U.S. electric grid, increasing the use of hydropower, expanding the use of nuclear energy and emboldening states to incentivize clean energy production and energy efficiency through tax breaks.

Any Republicans on board? Gaetz said he had spoken with Ocasio-Cortez about the two plans and found a few points of agreement. But he acknowledged many in his party were not prepared to address climate change.

"You should ask every Republican whether or not they believe in the science of climate change," he told reporters. "And if Republicans do believe the climate is changing, it's incumbent upon each and every one of them to support a solution, not to merely acknowledge the problem and stay with their head stuck in the sand."

The big picture: Democrats and Republicans are at odds over various climate proposals and how quickly they should be advancing. Some House Republicans have pushed for a vote on the Green New Deal to put Democrats on the defensive. Others say Democrats are moving too quickly this week in advancing a bill from Rep. Kathy CastorKatherine (Kathy) Anne CastorHouse approves two bills to block Trump drilling Pelosi, Schumer invite US women's soccer team to Capitol Democrats grill Trump officials over fuel standard rollback MORE (D-Fla.) that would recommit the U.S. to the goals of the Paris Climate Accord. No Republicans support either bill.

Read more here.

 

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HOUSE GOP ACCUSES DEMS OF RAMMING THROUGH CLIMATE BILL: GOP lawmakers are crying foul this week over a push by Democrats to quickly advance climate change legislation through committee so that it's ready for a House floor vote.

Republicans on the Energy and Commerce Committee are opposing the markup of a bill introduced last week by Rep. Kathy Castor (D-Fla.) that would bind the Trump administration to uphold the climate goals agreed to in the Paris climate accord under former President Obama.

Why Republicans are unhappy: GOP lawmakers say Democrats leapfrogged a subcommittee markup and a hearing for the measure, H.R. 9, to expedite its approval.

"It's unfortunate your subcommittee missed out on an opportunity to mark up that measure. That would be the regular order that you're proud of and that I'm proud of," said Rep. Greg WaldenGregory (Greg) Paul WaldenHotel industry mounts attack on Airbnb with House bill Wave of GOP retirements threatens 2020 comeback Push on 'surprise' medical bills hits new roadblocks MORE (Ore.), the top Republican on the committee, at a hearing Tuesday. "Instead it's going to be taken straight to full committee and straight to the floor to meet some arbitrary deadline."

What's next: The panel is expected to vote on the measure as early as Wednesday evening.

Some Republicans argue there should have been a hearing on Castor's bill before lawmakers vote on it.

"No hearings on Green New Deal. No hearings on H.R. 9. For what many on the other side consider to be the biggest existential threat to our existence, they seem very comfortable abandoning the legislative process and ignoring input from all involved and impacted," said a senior House Republican aide.

The Dem side: Castor, who heads the House's new Select Committee on Climate Crisis, said when she introduced the bill that Congress has "a moral obligation" to tackle climate change, framing the legislation as the first step in a much broader Democratic effort to address the global crisis.

House Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman Frank Pallone Jr.Frank Joseph PalloneHotel industry mounts attack on Airbnb with House bill Push on 'surprise' medical bills hits new roadblocks Overnight Health Care: Insurance lobby chief calls Biden, Sanders health plans 'similarly bad' | Trump officials appeal drug price disclosure ruling | Study finds 1 in 7 people ration diabetes medicine due to cost MORE (D-N.J.) brushed off Republican complaints Tuesday, saying the House had already held a hearing on the Paris climate agreement and therefore didn't need another hearing on the topic focused on the bill.

In an attempt to influence the timing of a vote on Castor's bill, Rep. Bill FloresWilliam (Bill) Hose FloresTrump calls on House Republicans to let committee chairs stay on the job longer Wave of GOP retirements threatens 2020 comeback The Hill's 12:30 Report: Dorian lashes Florida's coast MORE (R-Texas) offered a last-minute amendment Tuesday night that would substitute the legislative text with the entire Green New Deal resolution.

He also criticized how quickly H.R. 9 was getting a committee vote.

"The committees have been bypassed. They are bringing messaging bills to the floor and that's all they are. They are written by the Democratic leadership and they don't reflect the views of their members," Flores said.

Neither Speaker Nancy PelosiNancy PelosiThe Hill's Morning Report - Trump takes 2020 roadshow to New Mexico This week: House jump-starts effort to prevent shutdown Schumer, Pelosi push Trump to back universal background check bill MORE (D-Calif.) nor Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.) have called for a vote on the Green New Deal in the House, with each suggesting Democrats are shifting their focus on climate change.

Read more here.

 

PARK SERVICE DEFENDS FUNDS USED TO STAY OPEN DURING SHUTDOWN: Democrats grilled National Park Service (NPS) leadership about the decision to keep parks open during last year's government shutdown as the agency defended its 2020 budget on Capitol Hill Wednesday.

NPS Deputy Director Dan Smith appeared before a House Appropriations subcommittee to defend a budget that makes nearly $500 million in cuts to the agency.

But beyond budget cuts to an agency overseeing parks that received an increase in visitors last year, many Democrats were also concerned about damage to the parks sustained during the 35-day partial government shutdown. The shutdown decreased overall revenue given the absence of paid entry fees.

Heaping trashcans, overflowing bathrooms, and off-road drives through Joshua Tree National Park made headlines. The damage was rectified quickly, Smith said, once workers were able to go into the parks "a day or two" after the shutdown.

The background: President TrumpDonald John TrumpTed Cruz knocks New York Times for 'stunning' correction on Kavanaugh report US service member killed in Afghanistan Pro-Trump website edited British reality star's picture to show him wearing Trump hat MORE committed to keeping national parks open during the shutdown, and the National Park Service was able to keep many parks open by tapping into $250 million in Federal Lands Recreation Enhancement Act (FLREA) funds. Acting Interior Secretary David Bernhardt gave permission to drain funds until they reached a "zero balance."

But lawmakers and conservationists have long questioned whether FLREA funds may be used to keep the parks open, given that the funding is designated for improvement of parks rather than day-to-day operations.

The defense: Smith said he believes the funds were used appropriately and only regrets not authorizing them to be used immediately in order to avoid some of the maintenance issues that captured public attention.

"I believe it was the right decision," Smith said of using the funds.

Rep. Jared HuffmanJared William HuffmanOvernight Energy: Trump administration to repeal waterway protections| House votes to block drilling in Arctic refuge| Administration takes key step to open Alaskan refuge to drilling by end of year House votes to block drilling in Arctic refuge House approves two bills to block Trump drilling MORE (D-Calif.) disagreed, saying keeping the parks open presented public health and safety issues.

"I'm not sure I would agree with you that it was no big deal. I personally saw overflowing trashcans, vandalism, human waste was piled up in restrooms and other places in some of our parks, to the point that some of your personnel were thinking they may need to call hazmat teams to clean them up," Huffman said.

Also a concern to many on the subcommittee is the National Park Service's nearly $12 billion maintenance backlog, up from $11.6 billion last year.

More on the Park Service budget hearing here.

 

ON TAP THURSDAY:

The Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee will consider David Bernhardt's nomination to be Secretary of the Interior.

The House Committee on Natural Resources will hold a hearing on H.R. 1904, legislation making permanent the Reclamation Water Settlements Fund.

The House Select Committee on the Climate Crisis will hold its first hearing, opening with remarks from young leaders pushing for action on climate change

 

OUTSIDE THE BELTWAY:

New research suggests the average U.S. city will come to resemble climates more than 500 miles away, The Washington Post reports.

On Tuesday, Trump claimed wind turbines cause cancer. Today, 19 senators urged more federal funding for them, also from The Washington Post.

Clean energy and climate change are helping Big Oil, Goldman Sachs says, CNBC reports.

 

IN CASE YOU MISSED IT:

House Republicans accuse Dems of ramming through climate bill

Plastic bag bans gain steam in liberal states

Patagonia refusing to sell vests to some corporate clients that don't 'prioritize the planet'

Park Service defends funds used to stay open during shutdown

Trump claims wind turbine 'noise causes cancer'

GOP lawmaker parodies Green New Deal in new climate bill