Top Republicans cry foul on new Podesta post

By Emma Dumain | 03/06/2024 04:33 PM EST

In a letter to President Joe Biden on Wednesday, two leading Republicans accused the White House of sidestepping Senate confirmation requirements.

John Podesta.

White House senior adviser John Podesta speaks at the U.S. Center at the COP28 international climate summit in December. Joshua Bickel/AP

Congressional Republicans are formalizing their complaints about President Joe Biden’s new climate czar, contending he has been installed in the position under parameters designed to “flout” the Senate confirmation process.

A letter sent Tuesday to Biden from House Energy and Commerce Chair Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R-Wash.) and Senate Environment and Public Works ranking member Shelley Moore Capito (R-W.Va.) signals the extent to which John Podesta will continue to be mired in election year politics — even if he won’t have to sit for confirmation hearings.

Podesta, who has been serving in the White House as a senior adviser overseeing Inflation Reduction Act implementation, took on additional responsibilities Wednesday under a new, additional title: senior adviser to the president for international climate policy.


Had Podesta been given the title of “climate envoy” — the distinction held by his immediate predecessor, John Kerry — he would have been subject to Senate confirmation. A recent defense bill, signed into law by Biden after Kerry had already been installed, contained a provision requiring confirmation for all special envoys going forward.