The House Natural Resources Committee voted 21-15 Wednesday morning to give its chairman, Rep. Raúl M. Grijalva, sweeping authority to unilaterally subpoena any of five federal departments and agencies that fall within its jurisdiction and officials who work at those entities.
By advancing the resolution, the committee sets up an all-but-certain escalation with the departments of Interior, Commerce and Agriculture over environmental and energy policies and projects. The authority also applies to the Council on Environmental Quality and the Office of Management and Budget.
Democrats on the committee said they have grown particularly irked with Interior, which they say has consistently failed to provide relevant or clear responses to record requests.
After more than an hour of contentious debate, the committee approved the resolution. No Republicans voted for it, though Rep. Paul Gosar, R-Ariz., did manage to amend the resolution to prevent it from applying to private citizens who are not current federal workers.