Dec 20, 2018

Democrats grapple with climate plan

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

The Humanity First push for a coronavirus vaccine

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

Policy responses to the global coronavirus crisis have been every-country-for-itself and — in the case of the U.S. and China — tinged with geopolitics.

The flipside: The scientific work underway to understand the virus and develop a vaccine has been globalized on an unprecedented scale.

Go deeperArrow6 mins ago - World

Trump attacks Schumer for impeachment in letter about coronavirus crisis

President Trump briefs reports on April 2. Photo: Win McNamee/Getty Images

President Trump accused Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer of being "missing in action" during the coronavirus crisis, writing in a scathing letter on Thursday that Schumer's focus on the "ridiculous impeachment hoax" resulted in New York being ill-prepared for the pandemic.

Why it matters: It's a blistering response to Schumer urging Trump to assign a senior military officer to enforce the Defense Production Act to produce more medical supplies.

World coronavirus updates: Confirmed cases top 1 million

Data: The Center for Systems Science and Engineering at Johns Hopkins, the CDC and China's Health Ministry. Note: China numbers are for the mainland only and U.S. numbers include repatriated citizens and confirmed plus presumptive cases from the CDC

Novel coronavirus infections have hit the 1 million mark after "near exponential growth" that's reached "almost every country," World Health Organization Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said Thursday.

The big picture: The global death toll exceeded 50,000 on Thursday, per Johns Hopkins data. Italy has reported nearly 14,000 deaths. Governments around the world have introduced public health and economic measures to try and curb the impact of the virus.

Go deeperArrowUpdated 48 mins ago - Health