Capitol Hill

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Republicans in the U.S. House hosted a dog-and-pony show in the nation’s Capitol on Wednesday. During a hearing of the Energy and Commerce Committee, they subjected EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy and Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz to a barrel of climate ignorance and peppered them with criticisms of Barack Obama’s climate policies.

The debate progressed along lines that were predictable, given that about a dozen members of the committee are climate deniers. Republicans accused Obama of being a job-killing, coal-hating president who believes fairy tales invented by mischievous scientists. They claimed his plan to move forward on climate regulations without Congress’ support is an abuse of his authority. Team Obama wearily explained the relatively simple science of climate change to the lawmakers and emphasized that the administration is acting completely within the law.

We won’t bore you with all the details. Instead, here are some of our favorite quotes from the hearing:

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Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz: “Common sense demands that we take action. As a policy issue, prudence suggests that we should take out an insurance policy, just like any family does on their home or automobile.”

EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy: “We are not doing anything at the EPA and in the climate plan that goes outside the boundaries of what Congress has said is our mission and our authority. … Can the EPA alone solve the problem of climate change? No, we cannot. We are working within our authority to do what we can.”

Rep. Ed Whitfield (R-Texas): “The president’s global warming agenda being implemented through the EPA has been holding back the economy, which continues to struggle. [EPA rules will] have devastating effects on our communities and most importantly, the consumers who pay their electricity bills every month.”

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Rep. Gene Green (D-Texas):  “Even though we want as clean air as we can, we still want to be able to turn on the lights and, particularly in Texas, have our air conditioning in the summer.”

Rep. Joe Barton (R-Texas), on the Obama administration sending just two Cabinet-level officials to the hearing when Republicans had asked for more: “Are you trying to hide something? Are you embarrassed by it, or you just don’t care to respond to Congress?”

Rep. Henry Waxman (D-Calif.), on who was not invited to the hearing: “Where are the climate scientists?”

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