Dems rail against editing of climate change testimony

Congressional Democrats Thursday rejected White House claims for why it heavily edited testimony on global warming by the head of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and vowed to investigate what they called the latest example of the Bush administration suppressing science.

Senate Environment and Public Works Chairwoman Barbara Boxer, D-Calif., blasted the White House for removing more than half of a 14-page written statement prepared by CDC Director Julie Gerberding for the committee's hearing on global warming's effect on health Tuesday.

"This administration wants to downplay the threat that global warming poses to the American people; period, end of quote," Boxer said.

During a review of the testimony, the Office of Management and Budget deleted references to global warming's potential contribution to wildfires, allergic diseases, food scarcities and other health problems.

A White House spokeswoman said Wednesday the deletions occurred because John Marburger, head of the White House Office of Science and Technology, said they were inconsistent with findings by the U.N.'s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change.

But in a letter Wednesday to Marburger, House Science Chairman Bart Gordon, D-Tenn., and Investigations and Oversight Subcommittee Chairman Brad Miller, D-N.C., said the U.N. panel had reached similar conclusions to those in the deleted portion of Gerberding's statement.

Gordon and Miller, who released their letter Thursday, noted that the White House in the past questioned the U.N. panel's findings.

At a news conference Thursday, Boxer released a comparison of a recent report on climate change by the U.N. panel and the deleted parts of Gerberding's testimony. Both point to similar concerns, such as the potential that global warming will help spread waterborne diseases and spur respiratory diseases.

Boxer and other committee Democrats said the draft testimony was closer to the U.N. report than the version submitted to the committee.

The White House came up with "an entirely phony statement" to explain the editing, said Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse, D-R.I.

Gordon and Boxer separately asked the White House to provide all records and comments related to the draft testimony by Monday. Gordon also said he would reintroduce a bill intended to prevent political meddling with the assessments of government scientists that stalled in the last Congress.

A Science Committee spokeswoman described the editing of the testimony as one in a series of similar instances, many of which have been highlighted in investigations by Gordon and Oversight and Government Reform Chairman Henry Waxman, D-Calif.

In a statement, Waxman said the deletions are part of an ongoing administration effort to stymie government findings on warming.

"For years this White House has been engaged in an effort to censor important science from the climate change debate. ... Administration experts are trying to inform the Congress and the public about this [the danger of climate change], but the White House will not allow it," he said.

Stay up-to-date with federal news alerts and analysis — Sign up for GovExec's email newsletters.
FROM OUR SPONSORS
JOIN THE DISCUSSION
Close [ x ] More from GovExec
 
 

Thank you for subscribing to newsletters from GovExec.com.
We think these reports might interest you:

  • Sponsored by G Suite

    Cross-Agency Teamwork, Anytime and Anywhere

    Dan McCrae, director of IT service delivery division, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA)

    Download
  • Data-Centric Security vs. Database-Level Security

    Database-level encryption had its origins in the 1990s and early 2000s in response to very basic risks which largely revolved around the theft of servers, backup tapes and other physical-layer assets. As noted in Verizon’s 2014, Data Breach Investigations Report (DBIR)1, threats today are far more advanced and dangerous.

    Download
  • Sponsored by One Identity

    One Nation Under Guard: Securing User Identities Across State and Local Government

    In 2016, the government can expect even more sophisticated threats on the horizon, making it all the more imperative that agencies enforce proper identity and access management (IAM) practices. In order to better measure the current state of IAM at the state and local level, Government Business Council (GBC) conducted an in-depth research study of state and local employees.

    Download
  • Sponsored by Aquilent

    The Next Federal Evolution of Cloud

    This GBC report explains the evolution of cloud computing in federal government, and provides an outlook for the future of the cloud in government IT.

    Download
  • Sponsored by LTC Partners, administrators of the Federal Long Term Care Insurance Program

    Approaching the Brink of Federal Retirement

    Approximately 10,000 baby boomers are reaching retirement age per day, and a growing number of federal employees are preparing themselves for the next chapter of their lives. Learn how to tackle the challenges that today's workforce faces in laying the groundwork for a smooth and secure retirement.

    Download
  • Sponsored by Hewlett Packard Enterprise

    Cyber Defense 101: Arming the Next Generation of Government Employees

    Read this issue brief to learn about the sector's most potent challenges in the new cyber landscape and how government organizations are building a robust, threat-aware infrastructure

    Download
  • Sponsored by Aquilent

    GBC Issue Brief: Cultivating Digital Services in the Federal Landscape

    Read this GBC issue brief to learn more about the current state of digital services in the government, and how key players are pushing enhancements towards a user-centric approach.

    Download

When you download a report, your information may be shared with the underwriters of that document.