Key Republican calls for Podesta to face Senate confirmation for climate diplomat post

Sen. James Risch (R-Idaho) is calling on the Biden administration to put John Podesta, who was recently named the nation’s next top climate diplomat, through the Senate confirmation process.

“Any appointed administration official that will heavily rely on State Department staff and resources should be accountable to congressional committees with jurisdiction over State, including the Senate Foreign Relations Committee,” Risch said in a written statement to The Hill.

“It is not unprecedented for someone serving in the White House to go through Senate confirmation. If the Biden Administration would like for the role of senior advisor for international climate policy to be effective, it should send Mr. Podesta’s appointment to our committee for consideration,” said Risch, who is the top Republican on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee.

A spokesperson for the senator added that Risch’s office has raised the issue with the White House and plans to continue to do so.

Risch’s comments follow the passage in the 2022 defense authorization bill of a provision that requires special envoys to go through the Senate confirmation process.

While John Kerry, whom Podesta is succeeding, has the title of “special presidential envoy for climate,” Podesta’s title will be “senior advisor to the president for international climate policy.”

Unlike Kerry, who is based out of the State Department, Podesta will be based in the White House, though he is expected to coordinate with State officials.

In addition to serving on international climate issues, Podesta is expected to hold a joint role where he will also oversee the implementation of the Inflation Reduction Act’s energy and climate provisions.

The Hill has reached out to the White House for comment.

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