Spurned by GOP, Senate Democrats Launch Their Own Climate Committee

Spurned by GOP, Senate Democrats Launch Their Own Climate Committee


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Janet Ybarra
Former Washington Journalist
Contributor on The Bipartisan Press

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Their resolution to establish a bipartisan select committee on climate change stymied by Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky), Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) established a new Senate Democrats’ Special Committee on the Climate Crisis

The committee—comprised of 10 Democratic senators—will be tasked with investigating, holding hearings, and issuing findings on the economic and national security consequences of climate change and how acting on the climate crisis presents significant opportunities for jobs, public health, and the economy, Senate Democrats announced.

More specifically, the committee will work with environmental, financial, and national security experts to find solutions for communities impacted by climate change and provide oversight on special interests that foster climate denial, Democrats said.

Sen. Brian Schatz (D-Hawaii) will chair the committee, and members include Sens. Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI), Jeff Merkley (D-Ore.), Michael Bennet (D-Colo.), Tammy Baldwin (D-Wis.), Martin Heinrich (D-NM), Ed Markey (D-Mass.), Tammy Duckworth (D-Ill.), Catherine Cortez-Masto (D-Nev.), and Tina Smith (D-Minn.).  

The creation of the new committee is one of many steps Democrats are taking to remain on the offense and highlight the economic and human cost of inaction on climate change. Recently, the entire Senate Democratic Caucus co-sponsored a resolution stating that climate change is real, caused by humans, and that the United States and Congress need to take immediate action to address it.

“In order to take bold action, we need a broad coalition. We have put together a group of people who are leading on climate in different ways. And that is going to be the foundation for our success,” said Schatz. “With this group, we have the necessary pieces to take this issue seriously — to make real inquiries and real analysis. We are treating this like the planetary emergency it is.”

Senate Democrats also Demanded major climate investments in any infrastructure bill that the Senate might consider.

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