Whitehouse defends climate focus of budget panel against GOP gripes

By Emma Dumain | 03/26/2024 01:46 PM EDT

“Republicans try to mock the problem or change the subject,” the Budget Committee chair said in a recent letter to colleagues.

Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse (D-R.I.).

Senate Budget Chair Sheldon Whitehouse (D-R.I.) is defending his committee's work on climate. Francis Chung/POLITICO

Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse is tired of Republicans complaining that all the Senate Budget Committee cares about is climate.

In a letter to GOP colleagues Monday, the Rhode Island Democrat offered a lengthy defense of his leadership of the panel, where the toll of climate change on virtually all sectors of the global economy has been the primary focus in the 118th Congress.

His reasoning: He won’t allow the committee he has chaired since January 2023 to ignore the “dangers that portend the biggest system shock to the economy yet” as the institution did in advance of the 2008 financial crisis and the 2020 global pandemic — even as Republicans continue to gripe that Whitehouse is pursuing his own long-held climate agenda rather than adhering to the committee’s stated jurisdiction.


In a hearing earlier this month, Sen. Mitt Romney (R-Utah) argued that the climate focus for many of the hearings “don’t belong in the Budget Committee.”