Democrats Will Hold President's Feet to the Fire in Upcoming Hearings

ByABC News via logo
January 30, 2007, 7:42 AM

Jan. 30, 2007 — -- Today, the Democratic congressman who took on big tobacco will confront the Bush administration on allegations that it has suppressed global warming science.

Rep. Henry Waxman, D-Calif., and the House Government Reform Committee he chairs will hear from government scientists who will testify that their work on global warming was distorted or suppressed by the Bush administration.

Those scientists include Dr. Drew Shindell, of NASA's Goddard Institute for Space Studies, and Rick Piltz, former senior associate at the U.S. Climate Change Science Program.

This morning's hearing on global warming is just one of many investigations and actions that the new Democratic Congress is conducting regarding President Bush and his administration.

The White House seems to be under attack from every angle -- for issues from global warming and the rebuilding of New Orleans to Darfur and Iraq.

"This will be an unprecedented level of scrutiny for them -- unprecedented level of scrutiny at all levels," said Ana Marie Cox, the Washington editor of

The House Government Reform Committee is also aggressively trying to obtain White House documents that would show that possible political influence was used to downplay findings on climate change.

"We have the power of subpoena, but I don't think the subpoena is what you use in the first instance. You make requests," Waxman said Jan. 7 on ABC News' "This Week."

But Waxman says his top priority is finding the billions of dollars lost in Iraq.

"What we've seen so far in Iraq, according to the government's own auditors, is billions of dollars that have gone to waste and corruption and graft," Waxman said. "We're going to look into that more carefully."

Those are just a couple of the many Democrat-led hearings planned, which also include hearings on gas prices, privacy issues and Iraq. The White House says they're ready for whatever comes at them.

"If some members within the Democratic Party decide that they want to engage in political acts of that sort, we will certainly be prepared," said White House spokesman Tony Snow.

This week, a Senate committee went to New Orleans to investigate President Bush's actions -- or inaction -- in helping the region recover from Hurricane Katrina.

"There's not a sense of urgency out of this White House, out of this administration, to get this done," Sen. Barack Obama, D-Ill., said at those hearings.

At one point, some of the more extreme members of the Democratic Party discussed impeachment proceedings, but Democratic leaders quashed that talk to focus on issues they felt the public could support.

Z. Byron Wolf and Dean Norland contributed to this report.