What to Know in Washington: Climate Envoy Kerry Faces GOP Probe

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House Republicans are launching an investigation into the activities of President Joe Biden’s climate envoy John Kerry, including any dealings with the Chinese Communist Party and left-wing environmental groups.

House Oversight and Accountability Chairman James Comer (R-Ky.) demanded in a letter Thursday that Kerry turn over information by Feb. 16 about his office’s actions, spending and staffing. Comer said Kerry had ignored previous requests.

Source: Kyle Grillot

A State Department representative would not comment directly on the Comer letter, but said the climate envoy’s office was committed to discussing its international efforts with Congress.

In his letter, Comer said Kerry’s current cabinet-level post does not require Senate confirmation, yet appears to be giving him the ability to bind the US to international agreements.

Comer alleged that Kerry downplays China’s human rights violations and antagonism against the US “while promoting climate negotiations that the CCP does not even appear interested in entering.” Read more.

Happening on the Hill


  • The Senate meets for a pro forma session with no business to conduct today, and the House returns Monday.

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Next year’s battle for House control is likely to come down to a few dozen seats out of the 435 that will be up for grabs.

‘Very Aggressive’ Pharma Probes Top Senate Health Panel Agenda

One of the Senate’s health committees is preparing a series of oversight efforts meant to highlight profiteering in the pharmaceutical and medical industries, members of the panel say.

Hard-Right Senators Say Commerce Panel Boot Is McConnell Payback

Top Senate Republican Mitch McConnell (Ky.) ousted conservative Sens. Rick Scott (R-Fla.) and Mike Lee (R-Utah) from the influential Commerce Committee as “payback” for defying the minority leader, the two allege.

Homeland Chief Targeted for Ouster Touts Focus on Agency Mission

Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas insists he doesn’t take Republican-led political attacks personally, but he can’t just shrug off the mounting criticism.

Bipartisan Passage of Workplace Laws Puts Employers on Notice

An unusually productive 2022 for employment legislation in Congress represents a shift for women in the workplace as businesses adapt their training and policies after the height of the Covid-19 pandemic and the #MeToo movement.

3M Maneuver Would ‘Abuse’ Bankruptcy Law, Lawmakers Say

Congressional Democrats are urging an appeals court to reject 3M Co.’s attempt to shield itself from more than 200,000 claims that its allegedly faulty ear plugs caused hearing loss.

Around the Administration


  • Biden at 3:15 p.m. will give a speech in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania with Vice President Kamala Harris on their economic agenda.
  • At 5:15 p.m. Biden and Harris participate in a Democratic National Committee reception in Philadelphia and will deliver remarks at 6 p.m.

China Spy Balloon Over US Adds to Tensions Ahead of Talks

The Pentagon is tracking what it said was a Chinese surveillance balloon over sensitive nuclear sites in the western US, an incident that injected new strain into relations before a planned Beijing visit by Secretary of State Antony Blinken.

Environmental Equity Report Card for Agencies Gets Final Touches

The White House is close to finalizing its first attempt to rate the progress of federal agencies on their environmental justice initiatives, with advocates pushing for a tool that will be unbiased, transparent, and data-focused.

US to Send Ukraine Boeing’s Ground-Launched, GPS-Guided Bombs

A new ground-launched, bomb-tipped rocket to be ordered from Boeing Co. will be part of the latest package of US arms for Ukraine that will be announced Friday by the White House and Pentagon, officials said.

Perli, Incoming NY Fed Official, Laid Out Debt-Limit Scenarios

Roberto Perli, the incoming head of the Federal Reserve’s market operations, recently laid out options for the central bank to safeguard financial markets in the event that Congress fails to raise the debt limit before the deadline later this year.

Biden Tells Black Caucus He Hopes Nichols Death Spurs Action

President Joe Biden said he hoped the death of Tyre Nichols “spurs some action” as he sought to reassure allies in the Congressional Black Caucus of a commitment to work with them to advance police reform.

To contact the reporters on this story: Brandon Lee in Washington at blee@bgov.com; Michaela Ross in Washington at mross@bgov.com

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Katrice Eborn at keborn@bgov.com

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