Democrats Form Congressional Task Force to Fight Climate Change

Representative Henry Waxman of California, the senior Democrat on the Energy and Commerce Committee, and Senator Sheldon Whitehouse formed a joint task force on climate change after President Barack Obama vowed to address the issue during his inaugural address.

Waxman and Whitehouse, a Rhode Island Democrat and chairman of the oversight subcommittee for the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee, will co-chair the task force, according to a statement posted online today.

The lawmakers sent a letter to Obama “urging him to develop a comprehensive climate change plan as expeditiously as possible,” according to the statement. Obama said in his Jan. 21 address that he’s making climate change a priority in his second term. The letter was also signed by Representative Edward Markey of Massachusetts, the senior Democrat on the Natural Resources Committee.

“Congress and the public need to understand that climate change impacts are turning out worse than expected and our window to act is closing,” Waxman said in the statement. “This threat is not waiting until we are ready to deal with it.”

House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, a California Democrat, created the Select Committee on Energy Independence and Global Warming in 2007. Republican lawmakers eliminated the group after taking control of the House in 2010.

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