House Democrats have been holding multiple hearings this month to highlight the impacts of, and science around, climate change, but Republicans managed to scuttle one session Tuesday after just 10 minutes when only two Democrats showed up.
After opening statements in the House Natural Resources subcommittee hearing, GOP Rep. Louie Gohmert motioned to adjourn.
Such motions are common in Congress, usually used by the minority to make the point that they object to the point of a hearing. And the majority party, having more members on all committees, always defeats the motion.
But only two of the subcommittee’s five Democrats were in the room. All four Republicans were there, so the Republicans won and the hearing ended.
Gohmert called to adjourn the hearing because he believed the hearing’s topic, entitled “The Denial Playbook: How Industries Manipulate Science and Policy from Climate Change to Public Health,” falls outside of the Natural Resources Committee’s jurisdiction.
“This is now, though, the seventh oversight hearing related to climate change that the majority is holding this month,” Gohmert said in his opening statement. “It appears today’s hearing topic is well outside our jurisdiction.”
Gohmert said that climate change falls under the Energy and Commerce Committee or the Science, Space and Technology Committee, but the topics presented to be covered at Tuesday’s hearing — including “football, concussions, opioid addiction, OSHA and epidemiology” — are outside of the issues the committee manages.
The subcommittee hearing’s witnesses included former NFL player Chris Borland, Ryan Hampton, a former opioid addict who has been in recovery for the past 10 years and founded the Voices Project, Alexandria Precup, a woman who was displaced by Hurricane Maria, and former Assistant Secretary of Labor for Occupational Safety and Health David Michaels.
After the hearing adjourned, the Republicans left the room and the official congressional reporter was excused.
Subcommittee Chairman TJ Cox, D-California, said the session would continue as a “Democratic Forum.” The witnesses spoke and the event was broadcast on the committee’s website.