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Cummings Asks Issa to Hold Hearings on Landmark GAO Decision to Add Climate Change to “High Risk” Report

Feb 14, 2013
Press Release

Washington, DC —Today, Rep. Elijah E. Cummings, Ranking Member of the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, sent a letter to Chairman Darrell Issa requesting that the Committee hold a series of hearings in light of today’s historic announcement  that the nonpartisan experts at the Government Accountability Office (GAO) for the first time have added climate change to their High Risk Report warning about the most pressing challenges facing the nation and the federal government.

“GAO’s landmark decision to list climate change in its High Risk Report is a critical wake-up call for Congress and the country,” said Cummings.  “Although some may continue to disregard the science, this report warns that climate change is real, it is here now, and the economic consequences to our nation will be catastrophic if Congress ignores it any longer.  It is my hope that Chairman Issa agrees to convene oversight hearings to examine GAO’s findings and recommendations.”

In today’s report, GAO warns that climate change poses particularly significant financial risks to the nation’s economy, including agriculture, infrastructure, ecosystems, and human health.  GAO warns that the federal government “is not well positioned to address this fiscal exposure” and recommends a “government-wide strategic approach with strong leadership and the authority to manage climate change risks.”

Despite the science highlighting these potentially catastrophic effects, House Republicans voted 37 times last Congress to block action to address the threat of climate change, according to a report issued by the Democratic staff of the House Committee on Energy and Commerce.

In his letter to Issa today, Cummings wrote, “With our Committee’s extremely wide jurisdiction across multiple federal agencies and departments, we have a unique opportunity to conduct hearings that will lead to vigorous oversight, responsible funding decisions, and legislation to address the growing threats to public health and our economy.”

The Oversight Committee will be holding a hearing today to explore GAO’s High Risk Report and opportunities for reform.  You can read Ranking Member Cummings’ opening statement here.

113th Congress