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Newz Chooze

Speaker Nancy Pelosi built out the Democratic roster for her special select panel on climate change Thursday, pulling from a mix of old and new lawmakers but leaving off the highest profile freshmen like Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.). The announcement, on the same day that the proposal for the lofty Green New Deal lands on Capitol Hill and one day after the first climate change hearings in years, gives a further boost to Democratic efforts to bring the issue to the forefront of their agenda. “I want everybody to be in on the act because this is deadly serious,” Pelosi said in an interview Wednesday, adding that the panel will focus on global warming “from the standpoint of health, security, economics and morality.” The new House Select Committee on the Climate Crisis will be led by Rep. Kathy Castor (D-Fla.), and raising public awareness of the issue will be a top priority; just 35 percent of Americans consider climate change an imminent threat. The other Democratic members of the panel are Reps. Ben Ray Luján (N.M.), Suzanne Bonamici (Ore.), Julia Brownley (Calif.), Sean Casten (Ill.), Jared Huffman (Calif.), Mike Levin (Calif.), Donald McEachin (Va.) and Joe Neguse (Colo.). Casten, Levin and Neguse are freshmen. Pelosi — who described climate change as her “flagship” political issue before health care — saw Democrats try and fail to pass a sweeping environmental law during the Obama administration. The next attempt, she said, will need broader support. “This time it has to be Congress-wide,” Pelosi said. Pelosi is bringing back a committee that she created back in 2007, when she first became speaker. Republicans disbanded the group when they regained control in 2011. The committee’s scope will be limited: It can hold hearings and plan fact-finding trips, but not compel testimony — a structure that has aggravated many progressives. Still, it will stand in stark contrast to an administration hostile to action on climate change, which President Donald Trump has described as a Chinese hoax. Pelosi said the committee was not tasked specifically with crafting the progressives‘ “Green New Deal,” as Ocasio-Cortez had initially sought. The California Democrat called that proposal “a suggestion.” “It will be one of several or maybe many suggestions that we receive,” Pelosi said. “The green dream or whatever they call it, nobody knows what it is but they’re for it right?” In her first term as speaker, the California Democrat helped muscle through a major energy bill in 2007, which then-President George W. Bush praised for “confronting global climate change.” Article originally published on POLITICO Magazine