In 2019, after the Democrats secured control of the House of Representatives, Democratic House Speaker Nancy Pelosi of California created the Select Committee on the Climate Crisis.
It is exactly what it sounds like: It’s supposed to hold hearings on any potential changes that might be happening to the climate, which will be objectively cataloged, as evinced by the name “Select Committee on the Climate Crisis.”
This is so vital that the committee’s first report was released without Republican input, because apparently, they’re not objective enough to call it a crisis.
“I wish it weren’t a fight, but it will be a fight as long as it needs to be,” Pelosi said about climate change policy in the aftermath of the report last June, according to the Washington Examiner. “We will turn this report into law, saving the planet.”
Well, they technically can’t do that; the only thing the select committee members can really do is issue the report, and the Democrats cut Republicans on the committee out for a reason.
They can’t shut them up, however — and now they have two more powerful Republicans they won’t be able to keep quiet.
According to a Thursday report in the Examiner, Reps. Dan Crenshaw of Texas and Anthony Gonzalez of Ohio will be joining the committee for the 117th Congress. The ranking Republican remains Rep. Garret Graves of Louisiana.
Both Crenshaw and Gonzalez were newcomers in the class of 2019.
In a statement, Graves said that both Crenshaw and Gonzalez “will be a real asset in our efforts to reduce global emissions while ensuring the U.S. economy continues to grow and our American workers are protected.”
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House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy was effusive in his praise of Crenshaw.
“When America is the leader in energy production, the world’s climate benefits. What we need isn’t to make energy production harder, we need leaders across the private sector and in Congress who can leverage innovative solutions to help make cleaner energy, and also provide Americans with good-paying jobs,” McCarthy said in a statement released on Crenshaw’s website.
“Since coming to Congress, Representative Dan Crenshaw has embodied this idea. That is why I am proud to have selected him to serve on the Select Committee on the Climate Crisis. I am confident that Dan will be an invaluable resource in helping the committee meet the challenges of the climate crisis.”
In his own statement, Crenshaw made it clear his focus wouldn’t be on renewable energy — surprise of surprises.
“If we’re serious about tackling climate change, we need to get serious about advancing bipartisan solutions that boost American energy innovation. That’s how we tackle this challenge, and we can do this without killing American energy jobs or American energy independence,” Crenshaw said.
“Americans are tired of this false choice of inaction or economy-crushing regulations when it comes to climate change. I look forward to serving on this committee to push for policies that will protect our environment and our economy and our energy independence all at the same time.”
Crenshaw had introduced two bills in the last Congress advocating carbon capture technology.
Gonzalez isn’t quite the star that Crenshaw is. Part of it is Crenshaw’s biography — former Navy SEAL who lost an eye as part of his service and a high-profile member of the 116th Congress freshman class.
Part of it, however, is Gonzalez’s vote to impeach former President Donald Trump in January, a move which remains a difficult position among Republicans.
According to the Cincinnati Enquirer, Trump already endorsed Gonzalez’s primary opponent, Max Miller, last month.
“Max Miller is a wonderful person who did a great job at the White House and will be a fantastic Congressman,” Trump said of the former White House aide in a statement. “He is a Marine Veteran, a son of Ohio, and a true PATRIOT.”
Given the messaging the Democrats plan to use the committee to push, Gonzalez’s position could give his chances a big boost.
“Republicans will use the committee as a vehicle to continue communicating an alternative climate change agenda to compete with Democrats, focusing on promoting innovation in clean energy technologies, such as carbon capture for fossil fuel plants and smaller nuclear reactors,” the Examiner reported.
“Republicans intend to contrast their proposals with more aggressive policies, such as pricing carbon or mandating clean electricity use, that Democrats say are needed to avert the worst consequences of climate change.”
All of that will look good in 2022, particularly given both will act as major counterbalances to the Democrats on the committee — who will likely do little more than rubber-stamp any initiative the Biden administration puts forth.
Whatever the case, it’s a major opportunity for the GOP to bring solutions, not just meaningless anti-growth plans that sound good.
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