Witnesses at the hearing included representatives from the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, the University of Alabama in Huntsville, the World Resources Institute and The Heritage Foundation’s Margaret Thatcher Center for Freedom.
One issue discussed was the legality of the pledge, which was not made with Congressional cooperation. This presents a constitutional issue, since the pledge is not ratified by the Senate, and a budgetary issue, as the pledge promises funds to aid the emission reduction efforts of developing countries. Any allocation of public funds must go through Congress. The witnesses also discussed the pledge's potential to impact climate change, highlighting the limited effectiveness of the U.S.’s contributions when considered alone.
“The President’s Paris pledge will increase electricity costs, ration energy and slow economic growth,” U.S. Rep. Lamar Smith (R-TX), who chairs the Science, Space and Technology Committee, said. “Congress has repeatedly rejected the President’s extreme climate agenda. The President’s climate pledge is a bad deal for the American economy, the American people and would produce no substantive environmental benefits.”