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Rep-elect Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.). Photo: Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call

More information about House Democrats' plan to create a new select committee on clean energy and global warming is emerging — and creating tension between party leaders and insurgent progressives.

Why it matters: The inside baseball reflects broader, more consequential questions and deliberations over how the party should prepare to act on climate policy if a political window for big legislation opens after the 2020 elections.

Driving the news: Via The Hill, Steny Hoyer, the No. 2 House Democrat, told reporters that the panel is not expected to have subpoena power. A leadership aide confirmed this to Axios and other outlets.

The intrigue: That drew pushback from progressive Rep.-elect Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez's office and youth-led activists pushing for a Select Committee on a "Green New Deal."

  • They envision the panel having investigative power in addition to writing a sweeping draft legislative proposal on climate, clean energy and jobs that's ready for launch in 2020.
  • Two groups backing the plan — the Sunrise Movement and Justice Democrats — accused Hoyer of offering a "toothless proposal."

What they're saying:

"Our goal is to treat Climate Change like the serious, existential threat it is by drafting an ambitious solution on the scale necessary — aka a Green New Deal — to get it done. A weak committee misses the point & endangers people."
— Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, in a tweet
"Subpoena power is granted to committees in the standard [H]ouse rules. ... We are simply asking for what is the usual power granted to all committees."
— Saikat Chakrabarti, Ocasio-Cortez's chief of staff, via Twitter

The other side: The Democratic leadership aide said the intention not to grant subpoena power reflects how leadership envisions the new panel working with existing committees.

  • "The plan going forward will be for the select committee chair to work in close coordination with a standing committee chair should an issue arise," the aide said.
  • "Obviously depending on the issue that could be a different chair on different topics."

Go deeper

Off the Rails

Episode 5: The secret CIA plan

Photo illustration: Aïda Amer, Sarah Grillo/Axios. Photo: Zach Gibson/Getty Images

Beginning on election night 2020 and continuing through his final days in office, Donald Trump unraveled and dragged America with him, to the point that his followers sacked the U.S. Capitol with two weeks left in his term. This Axios series takes you inside the collapse of a president.

Episode 5: Trump vs. Gina — The president becomes increasingly rash and devises a plan to tamper with the nation's intelligence command.

In his final weeks in office, after losing the election to Joe Biden, President Donald Trump embarked on a vengeful exit strategy that included a hasty and ill-thought-out plan to jam up CIA Director Gina Haspel by firing her top deputy and replacing him with a protege of Republican Congressman Devin Nunes.

Updated 2 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Annelise Capossela/Axios

  1. Health: CDC director defends agency's response to pandemic — CDC warns highly transmissible coronavirus variant could become dominant in U.S. in March.
  2. Politics: Empire State Building among hundreds to light up in Biden inauguration coronavirus tribute.
  3. Vaccine: Fauci: 100 million doses in 100 days is "absolutely" doable.
  4. Economy: Unemployment filings explode again.
  5. Tech: Kids' screen time sees a big increase.

Biden Cabinet confirmation schedule: When to watch hearings

Joe Biden and Kamala Harris on Jan. 16 in Wilmington, Delaware. Photo: Angela Weiss/AFP via Getty Images

The first hearings for President-elect Joe Biden's Cabinet nominations begin on Tuesday, with testimony from his picks to lead the departments of State, Homeland and Defense.

Why it matters: It's been a slow start for a process that usually takes place days or weeks earlier for incoming presidents. The first slate of nominees will appear on Tuesday before a Republican-controlled Senate, but that will change once the new Democratic senators-elect from Georgia are sworn in.

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