Schumer vows to defund Trump’s ‘fake climate panel’

Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer vowed Tuesday to defund a climate science panel the White House is looking to create, calling it “fake” and criticizing Republican leaders for their positions on climate change.

The White House is considering assembling an “ad hoc group” of scientists to re-evaluate the federal government’s current conclusions about climate science and the negative impact of fossil fuels, The Washington Post reported Sunday. The group would include scientists “who question the severity of climate impacts and the extent to which humans contribute to the problem,” according to the paper.

“So this morning I’m announcing that if the Trump administration moves forward with this fake climate panel, we will be introducing legislation to defund it,” Schumer said in a speech on the Senate floor.

The New York Democrat described the scientists who would be on the panel as being “cherry-picked” by the administration and noted that the group would be under the purview of the National Security Council instead of the Environmental Protection Agency or a similar agency “where the real scientists work.”

According to the Post, the plan, which is not finalized, was discussed at a meeting last week with several high level administration officials in which attendees “debated how best to establish a group of researchers that could scrutinize recent federal climate reports.”

Schumer also took aim at Republican leaders, saying that “it is long past time” for them “to admit that climate change is real, that human activity contributes to it, and Congress must take action to counter it.”

“So far, leader McConnell and our Republicans, when we ask them do you believe climate change is real? Silence. Do you believe humans cause it? Silence. Do you believe Congress has to act to deal with it? Silence. That will not stand and they will not be able to maintain that position for the next — over a period of time,” Schumer said.