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Biden’s Naming of Podesta as Climate Diplomat Probed by GOP

(Bloomberg) -- Congressional Republicans are probing President Joe Biden’s decision to name John Podesta to replace John Kerry as his top climate diplomat, accusing the White House of circumventing the law in appointing him without going through the Senate confirmation process.

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“This appears to be a blatant attempt to sidestep congressional oversight and install Mr. Podesta in a position that under federal law requires the advice and consent of the United States Senate,” House Energy and Commerce Committee Chair Cathy McMorris Rodgers and Shelley Moore Capito, the top Republican on the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee, wrote in a letter to Biden made public Wednesday.

Read More: John Podesta to Replace Kerry as Top US Climate Diplomat

The White House announced in late January it was tapping Podesta, a veteran Democratic strategist who was already serving as a top adviser to Biden on implementation of the Inflation Reduction Act, for the role of climate envoy.

Unlike Kerry — who occupied an office at the State Department — Podesta will remain at the White House in the new role, officially senior adviser to the president for international climate policy. That allows him to sidestep a requirement for Senate confirmation for envoys to the State Department, administration lawyers previously said.

A White House official said upon Kerry’s departure, the existing Office of the Special Presidential Envoy for Climate will report to Deputy Secretary of State for Management and Resources and that Podesta would continue to oversee the White House Office of Clean Energy Innovation and Implementation while working closely with the State Department.

(Adds White House response in last paragraph.)

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