House Republicans held a committee hearing yesterday to consider Environmental Protection Agency’s budget request from agency chief Gina McCarthy. The discussion went about as expected, though the hearing was a reminder of why policy debates in Washington have become effectively impossible.
As Alec MacGillis reported, House Majority Whip Steve Scalise (R-La.) was on hand for the discussion, and he told the EPA chief, ”I know the president loves talking about global warming – and they’re canceling flights all around the country due to snow blizzards.”
Yes, according to Scalise, the #3 Republican leader in the U.S. House, snow storms in the winter undermine climate science. The far-right GOP congressman also seems concerned about “snow blizzards” – as opposed to the other kinds of blizzards that cancel flights?
MacGillis also highlighted the concerns raised by Rep. David McKinley (R-W.Va.), who “told McCarthy that she was, effectively, responsible for an epidemic of mental illness.”
“I keep seeing the EPA putting in another regulation on top of another regulation,” he said. “What it’s led, by these overregulation in rural America, it’s led to people, their well-being, their mental health, is all being affected by it. I think we’re having some depression in areas around the county because of the threats of regulation and what it’s doing to jobs…. I really believe it’s directly attributed to the regulatory body with it (sic).” No mention of the other factors that are putting pressure on the coal industry in his district, such as the natural gas boom happening very nearby.In case you wondered, McKinley doesn’t believe in man-made climate change. “You continue to issue more regulations even though the models say it doesn’t work with it,” he told McCarthy. “You have a model that says how [carbon dioxide] impacts the temperatures around the globe. We know from the standards that that doesn’t work.” Oh?
Much of the country often wonders why President Obama and congressional Republicans can’t work cooperatively on national problems. Hearings like these offer a big hint. When members of the House Energy Committee argue to the EPA chief that “snow blizzards” raise doubts about global warming, governing is a longshot.
For her part, McCarthy apparently did her best to be patient, but committee members didn’t have many substantive questions for her to answer. This was an opportunity for grandstanding, not policy discussion.
In other words, it was like most days in this Congress.