Some Republicans in Congress don’t even try to pretend to do their real jobs anymore, preferring to spend their time figuring out ways to protect their patron saint of unlimited executive privilege, Donald Trump, from the avalanche of damning evidence piling up in his congressional impeachment inquiry.
Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY) called out her Republican colleagues on the House Oversight Committee today for trying to “get out of” their “job at every opportunity” after they tried to get the committee to adjourn while it was already in progress on a hearing concerning carbon emissions and the oil industry.
The reason for the GOP members’ highly unusual request: they wanted to crash the House Intelligence Committee hearing featuring the testimony of Lt. Col. Alexander Vindman about the extortionary phone call he participated in with Donald Trump and Ukranian President Volodymyr Zelensky.
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
While some may accuse Congressman Gosar — a former dentist, as his Twitter handle reminds everyone — of dipping into a hidden store of nitrous oxide to come up with that rationale, Representative Ocasio-Cortez chided the GOP members of the committee for ignoring the pressing environmental issues before the committee in favor of the sexier media-grabbing hearing in the Capitol basement.
“I would like to do my job,” Ocasio-Cortez said, scolding the Republicans, “and I try not to get out of my job at every opportunity.”
“We’re here to talk about the very pressing issue of cutting our carbon emissions and saving our planet,” she admonished, “and we have an entire political party that’s trying to get out of their job, adjourn this hearing, and I just want to know what the reason for such a disrespect of our process would potentially be.”
“Do we have a reason for why this hearing is trying to be adjourned, or do we have just, like, a cocktail party to go to?” Ocasio-Cortez added sarcastically.
Representative Kelly Armstrong (R-ND) provided an answer that suggested that he may need to consult a doctor about a possible Attention Deficit Disorder diagnosis, complaining that the closed-door hearing taking place in the Capitol’s Sensitive Compartmented Information Facility was distracting him from the Oversight hearing, despite the fact that the hearing chambers were nowhere near each other.
“We are running an impeachment hearing down in the basement, down in the basement of the Capitol,” Armstrong stated to a group that was presumably already well aware of this fact.
His response prompted the New York Congresswoman to ask what relevance this had to the topic at hand in their own hearing, an oil industry that Rep. Armstrong had already acknowledged was his home state’s second-biggest industry.
“I want to participate in this hearing, but I also feel the need in the SCIF because we’re only one of three committees that’s allowed to be in the room,” Armstrong said. “I can do a lot of things, I can’t be in two places at once. I’m completely comfortable having this hearing, I’d just prefer to have it at a time when I can participate in it.”
Unfortunately for the GOP Oversight Committee members, their ability to control the agenda was lost along with their majority in the House in last year’s midterm elections that brought Congresswoman Ocasio-Cortez into her current role on the committee.
Predictably, the Republican motion to adjourn so its members could barge into the closed-door Intelligence Committee hearings failed in a party-line vote.
Oversight Committee Chairman Harley Rouda (D-CA) joined Rep. Ocasi0-Cortez in lambasting the GOP attempts to shirk their duties while showboating to defend Trump from damaging testimony.
“I have to say I’m very disappointed in these antics,” he said. “I have been in the SCIF room for many of these depositions, and many of the members that are afforded the ability from this committee to go there have not been in many of those depositions.”
“The fact that they seem to want to make it an issue now clearly shows they care more about process and trying to prevent the good work of this committee to do the investigative work it is obligated to do under the Constitution to protect the president at all costs, instead of doing their duty, is disappointing,” Rouda added. “The fact that we have several members here that have been to this (Environment) Subcommittee meeting for the first time ever is incredibly disappointing.”
You can watch video excerpts of the tumultuous Oversight Committee hearing in the clips below.
Follow Vinnie Longobardo on Twitter.
Original reporting by Travis Gettys at RawStory.
Please consider supporting the fund. Thank you!
Vinnie Longobardo is the Managing Editor of Occupy Democrats. He's a 35-year veteran of the TV, mobile & internet industries, specializing in start-ups and the international media business. His passions are politics, music, and art.