Vice Ranking Member Bill Johnson (R-OH) Opening Remarks at Hearing on Climate Change

Remarks As Prepared For Delivery:

Thank you, Chairman Yarmuth. I’m going to attempt to fill the shoes of our distinguished Ranking Member and give an opening statement, but I’d first like to request unanimous consent that his prepared opening statement be submitted for the record.

The title of today’s hearing is “The Costs of Climate Change: Risks to the U.S. Economy and the Federal Budget.” But, we can’t have a hearing about climate change without taking a detailed look at the favored proposal among our colleagues on the Left: The Green New Deal. Currently, the Green New Deal has 93 co-sponsors – about a dozen of whom serve on the Budget Committee.

Following our hearing last month on Medicare-for-All, this is our second hearing featuring a central plank of the progressive agenda. I’ll be curious to learn what the focus will be at our next hearing if we continue down this path.

We’re supposed to be the Committee of fiscal discipline – the Committee that’s responsible for managing and addressing our nation’s debt. But instead of talking about a Budget – something Democrats were unable or unwilling to produce – we’re here to discuss a $93 trillion proposal that has been hailed on the Left as “a massive transformation of our society.” “Transformation” in this case should be replaced with “upheaval” to make the description more accurate.

The proposal has been billed as the cure to our environmental challenges. In reality, it would dump tens of trillions of federal dollars into new programs and mandates on families, businesses, states and localities that will increase energy costs, raise taxes, eliminate jobs and fail to actually address climate change.

The U.S. has been a leader in reducing greenhouse-gas emissions. But, we cannot effectively address climate change alone – this is a global issue. China and India accounted for half the increase in global emissions in 2017 – the same year that U.S. carbon emissions were the lowest they have been since 1992.

Congress should focus on policies that encourage research and development of all sources of energy, such as carbon capture and sequestration, energy storage, small modular nuclear reactors, or hydropower – to name a few. We should break down regulatory barriers to innovation and promote competition with the goal of making clean energy more affordable, accessible, and reliable – creating jobs, and growing the economy.

In doing so, America will continue to lead other countries in reducing our impact on our climate – without adding to our nation’s debt and disrupting the lives of American workers and families. Innovation is the cornerstone of America – it’s what we do best.

But more government interference and less freedom for Americans is the wrong policy to get the results we want.

I do want to add that it’s not entirely fair to say that there are no ideas on how to pay for the astronomical cost of the Green New Deal. The concept of “Modern Monetary Theory” has been cited as a solution to all our debt problems…because, so the theory goes, the government can just print more money to pay our bills. Now, I’m skeptical of that claim, but I understand that Chairman Yarmuth made some news on this topic in an interview at the Peterson Foundation Fiscal Summit this morning. I’m hopeful a hearing on this theory is on the horizon.

Thank you again Mr. Chairman, and I yield back.