“Members’ schedules had conflicts, and that includes the prayer breakfast,” said Austin Hacker, a spokesman for the committee’s minority.
The annual prayer breakfast, which was started by evangelist Billy Graham, typically includes a number of politicians and religious leaders.
On Tuesday, the committee announced that it would formally weigh a subpoena. The long-awaited vote will now be scheduled for Feb. 12.
Members on both sides of the aisle have complained about not getting a number of documents from Interior.
The vote would grant Chairman Raúl Grijalva (D-Ariz.) subpoena power as well as outline the scope of what the committee would seek from Interior.
But Republicans on Tuesday expressed discomfort with the scope of the resolution, which was written by Democrats.
“This is a change to our rules mid-process intended to wipe out input of minority members and take committee decision making behind closed doors,” Ranking Member Rob BishopRobert (Rob) William BishopOvernight Energy: Sanders, Ocasio-Cortez bill would outlaw fracking | Emails show weather service employees frustrated by ‘Sharpiegate’ | House panel schedules vote to subpoena Interior Natural Resources Committee schedules vote to subpoena Interior Overnight Energy: Republicans eye top spot on Natural Resources panel | GOP lawmakers push back on bill to make greener refrigerators, air conditioners | Green groups sue Trump over California fracking plans MORE (R-Utah) had said in a statement.
“It’s an unprecedented power grab that, if adopted, provides unchecked subpoena authority over private citizens and agencies.”
Democrats on the committee argue a subpoena is necessary because they’ve received just a fraction of the documents they’ve requested from Interior.
“This is the same authority most other committees give their chairs at the beginning of each Congress as a matter of course. We’re just bringing ourselves up to par with where many of our colleagues are already,” Adam Sarvana, the majority spokesman, said earlier this week.
“The ranking member will be given notice before any individual subpoena goes out the door. The issue here is the unprecedented Trump administration stonewalling that got us to this point, which Republicans on this Committee have never seemed interested in addressing.”
Interior, meanwhile, has argued a subpoena would amount to political grandstanding.
“The department has been more cooperative with the committee than any in history,” an Interior spokesperson said last week.
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