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Democrats Plan to Revive House Climate Committee

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(Bloomberg) -- House Democrats are planning to resurrect a special committee focused on climate change, giving them a platform to spotlight an issue on which polls show President Donald Trump is out of step with the public.

Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi of California will ask her colleagues to reconstitute the select committee, which was created under her watch 11 years ago and disbanded by Republicans after they took control of the House in January 2011. The plan was described by senior Democratic aides who asked not to be named before a formal announcement.

If lawmakers vote to resurrect the panel, it would give Democrats a chance to amplify concerns about climate change following a dire United Nations report as well as scrutinize the Trump administration’s approach to the issue.

In its previous iteration, the Select Committee on Energy Independence and Global Warming was not authorized to advance its own bills, but it still used dozens of hearings to emphasize Democratic priorities, evaluating advancements in renewable power and the consequences of climate change. The panel’s work helped pave the way for broad legislation to create a cap-and-trade system for carbon dioxide emissions that passed the House in 2009 before faltering in the Senate.

“They can only do messaging,” said Anna Burhop, an environmental policy expert with Bracewell LLP. Although legislation on energy and climate issues falls to other House panels, “the select committee can have as many messaging hearings as their little hearts desire,” and use them to “address wildfires, hurricanes and sea level rise.”

Pelosi is expected to be re-elected House speaker, though she still could face a threat from younger Democrats eager for new leadership. Regardless of who takes the gavel, Democratic caucus members are likely to rally behind the recreation of the climate committee.

--With assistance from Erik Wasson and Eric Roston.

To contact the reporters on this story: Jennifer A. Dlouhy in Washington at jdlouhy1@bloomberg.net;Ari Natter in Washington at anatter5@bloomberg.net

To contact the editors responsible for this story: Jon Morgan at jmorgan97@bloomberg.net, Elizabeth Wasserman

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