By RL_Miller, cross-posted from Daily Kos
Republican leadership is stacking the Energy & Commerce committee with known climate zombies — elected officials who question the reality of human-caused climate change, thus proving that stupid goes viral.
The strategy is part and parcel with Rand Paul (“abolish the Fed!”) chairing a banking committee with jurisdiction over the Fed, Joe Pitts (Stupak-Pitts, attacker of women’s health) chairing a health committee, and Rob Bishop (probably the worst member of Congress for national park issues) overseeing a national parks subcommittee. Here, loading the dice is a particularly reprehensible strategy when gambling with humanity’s future.
- RLMiller’s diary :: ::
New to the Energy & Commerce Committee, via The Hill’s E2Wire:
Charlie Bass (N.H.)
Brian Bilbray (Calif.)
Bill Cassidy (La.)
Cory Gardner (Colo.)
Morgan Griffith (Va.)
Brett Guthrie (Ky.)
Gregg Harper (Miss.)
Adam Kinzinger (Ill.)
David McKinley (W.Va.)
Cathy McMorris Rodgers (Wash.)
Pete Olson (Texas)
Mike Pompeo (Kans.)
and Gregg Walden (Or.) is returning
Who are these Representatives? What’s their zeal for energy issues? Bilbray promotes biofuels. Cassidy has been quiet on climate/energy issues. However, most of the incoming committee members are climate zombies.
Mike Pompeo officially represents KS-04, but unofficially he’s spawned by the Kochtopus: relies on Koch for his private wealth, won his primary with support from a Koch PAC, and Koch was by far and away the largest contributor to his general election campaign. On the Energy & Commerce committee, he’ll give Koch the finest representation its money
can buy has bought.
The website of Gregg Harper (MS-03) provides a clue to the likely priorities of the next Congress: hobbling the Environmental Protection Agency.
“I’ve joined Representative Marsha Blackburn of Tennessee and the House Republican leadership in co-sponsoring H.R. 391, which excludes carbon dioxide from the definition of the term ‘air pollutant’ in the Clean Air Act. Passing this bill is essential to halting the Environmental Protection Agency’s ability to regulate carbon dioxide.”
Charlie Bass (NH-02) thinks there’s still a debate regarding the sources of climate change. Cory Gardner (CO-04) says “I think the climate is changing, but I don’t believe humans are causing that change to the extent that’s been in the news.” Morgan Griffth (VA-09) thinks that “many scientists do not even believe” man-made global warming is even happening. David McKinley (WV-01) is still “waiting for valid science to convince him there’s a problem and whether man is to blame.”
Brett Guthrie (KY-02) believes that America needs “clean Kentucky coal” as part of an “all of the above” energy policy.
The biggest contribution of Cathy McMorris Rodgers (WA-05) to the climate issue is to claim that “Al Gore deserves an ‘F’ in science and an ‘A’ in creative writing.” And Pete Olson (TX-22) relies on “climategate” to query the IPCC’s climate data. Gregg Walden is the close friend and ally of Joe “I apologize to BP” Barton.
Adam Kinziger (IL-11) has taken the Koch-funded Americans For Prosperity’s “no climate tax” pledge, along with Bass, Gardner, Griffith, Harper, McKinley, McMorris Rodgers, Olson, Pompeo, and Walden. Of the 13 incoming members, I consider 8 to be clearly infected with Teh Stoopid, while the AFP pledge has the same significance as a gory bite in Dawn of the Dead. Only Bilbray and Cassidy have not been spotted moaning and shambling.
It’s tempting to snark about “opposites day” and move on. However, stacking the deck is part of a long-term strategy by GOP leadership. In 2007 Jonathan Chait pointed to a disturbing pattern:
Your typical conservative has little interest in the issue. Of course, neither does the average nonconservative. But we nonconservatives tend to defer to mainstream scientific wisdom. Conservatives defer to a tiny handful of renegade scientists who reject the overwhelming professional consensus.
Meanwhile, Republicans who do believe in global warming get shunted aside. …Gannett News Service recently reported that Rep. Wayne Gilchrest asked to be on the Select Committee on Energy Independence and Global Warming. House Republican leader John Boehner of Ohio refused to allow it unless Gilchrest would say that humans have not contributed to global warming. The Maryland Republican refused and was denied a seat.
Reps. Roscoe Bartlett (R-Md.) and Vernon Ehlers (R-Mich.), both research scientists, also were denied seats on the committee. Normally, relevant expertise would be considered an advantage. In this case, it was a disqualification; if the GOP allowed Republican researchers who accept the scientific consensus to sit on a global warming panel, it would kill the party’s strategy of making global warming seem to be the pet obsession of Democrats and Hollywood lefties.
GOP leadership has been loading the dice by stacking relevant committees with climate zombies at least as far back as 2007. That strategy has paid off for them, if not for the planet. Members of Congress setting national energy/climate policy for the next two years include a Koch puppet, coal ideologues, climate zombies who profess confusion regarding causes of climate change, and those who want to stop the EPA from doing its job. Let’s hope the next two years play out better than the end to a George A. Romero movie.