WASHINGTON — Freshman U.S. Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez slammed Arizona Rep. Paul Gosar and his GOP colleagues on Tuesday as they attempted to shut down a hearing to examine the Trump administration’s rollbacks of environmental rules.
A few minutes after the hearing began, Gosar abruptly moved to adjourn, demanding a roll call vote. He and his Republican colleagues complained that the U.S. House Oversight and Reform Committee was holding the hearing at the same time that a deposition related to President Trump’s impeachment inquiry was taking place.
A White House national security official, Army Lt. Col. Alexander Vindman, was expected to testify on Tuesday that he reported concerns about Trump’s attempts to pressure Ukraine’s president to investigate former Vice President Joe Biden, The New York Times reported.
“I respectfully ask for us to adjourn,” Gosar said at the kickoff of the hearing on the administration’s plan to loosen the Obama administration’s greenhouse gas emissions standards for cars. “Members should not be forced to choose between attending (House Intelligence Committee Chairman) Adam Schiff’s secret impeachment interviews or attending Committee hearings,” Gosar wrote on Twitter.
I just moved to adjourn the Oversight Committee hearing. Members should not be forced to choose between attending Adam Schiff’s secret impeachment interviews or attending Committee hearings.
— Rep. Paul Gosar, DDS (@RepGosar) October 29, 2019
Democrats, who outnumber Republicans on the committee, rejected Gosar’s attempt to adjourn the hearing.
Ocasio-Cortez, who also serves on the oversight panel, assailed the Republicans on the committee.
“I would like to do my job and I try not to get out of my job at every opportunity,” she said. “We’re here to talk about the very pressing issue of cutting our carbon emissions and saving our planet and we have an entire political party that is trying to get out of their job, adjourn this hearing.”
Rep. Harley Rouda (D-Calif.), the chairman of the subcommittee, said he was “very disappointed” by the GOP’s “antics.” He said he’s seen many of the witness depositions in the impeachment inquiry, and that many of the GOP members on the oversight committee haven’t attended, although they’ve been able to do so.
“The fact that they seem to want to make it an issue now clearly shows they care more about process” and protecting “the president at all costs instead of doing their duty,” Rouda said.
It’s the latest example of the GOP using procedural complaints in an attempt to undermine the Democrats’ impeachment proceedings. They’ve called the inquiry baseless because Democrats haven’t held a floor vote on an inquiry and they’ve slammed Democrats for holding closed-door depositions. Democrats have planned a floor vote later this week on an impeachment inquiry resolution, and they say that the next phase of the inquiry will be public.
Gosar and other Arizona Republicans have been among the most vocal House lawmakers condemning the House Democrats’ tactics as they proceed with the impeachment inquiry. Last week, Gosar tweeted a photo of himself standing with other House Republicans as they prepared to disrupt a closed-door deposition held in a Sensitive Compartmented Information Facility (SCIF).
Behind closed doors, Adam Schiff is trying to overturn the 2016 election, and impeach @realDonaldTrump in secret. This Salem witch trials had more due process than this. The American people deserve the truth! pic.twitter.com/SQSxxwQokU
— Rep. Paul Gosar, DDS (@RepGosar) October 23, 2019
Thirteen of the Republican lawmakers who were listed as attendees at the press conference — including Gosar — have access to the closed-door proceedings because they sit on relevant committees, Axios reported.
Gosar’s spokesman did not immediately respond to a request for comment about whether he attended Tuesday’s deposition.