“That’s what it is about: aliens. … I think people deserve to know,” Rep. Tim Burchett (R-Tenn.), one of the two Republicans, told POLITICO.
Both Oversight Chair James Comer (R-Ky.) and Speaker Kevin McCarthy have signed off on holding a hearing, with Burchett and Rep. Anna Paulina Luna (R-Fla.) asked to take the lead.
A spokesperson for Comer noted that the hearing is still in its planning stages but it is “looking like it will happen towards the end of this month.” The Kentucky Republican said that it will be a subcommittee hearing.
Despite the early stages, the hearing has already sparked pushback not only within the committee but from the Defense Department, according to Burchett.
Another GOP member of the Oversight Committee, granted anonymity to speak candidly, said they plan to attend, but: “There are some people who want to stop it. There are some people who want to do it.” That lawmaker also said that they had been told the hearing will take place during the final week of July.
“There’s just internal machinations between staff and members … Some don’t want to do it at this time right now, think it is a bad idea,” the member said, adding that there was a concern that “people will run wild with it.”
An Oversight Committee staffer denied that there was pushback on the hearing, but indicated that staff is trying to work out witnesses.
The Defense Department didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment about the hearing. Spokespeople for Luna didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment.
The hearing would be this year’s latest example of Congress digging into the UFO space, after alien fever briefly gripped Washington as the United States shot down a series of balloons, at least some of which turned out to be Chinese spy aircraft.
Sean Kirkpatrick, director of the All-Domain Anomaly Resolution Office, testified before the Senate Armed Services Committee earlier this year, telling senators that the Pentagon at the time was tracking roughly 650 incidents involving unidentified aircraft. An unclassified annual report released by the Office of the Director of National Intelligence in January said that they had found 510 cases through Aug. 30, 2022.
Kirkpatrick told senators at the time that he had found no evidence of alien activity. But he also raised eyebrows when he co-wrote a draft academic paper with Harvard professor Avi Loeb, in which they floated that unexampled aerial incursions could be “probes” from an extraterrestrial “parent craft,” while acknowledging that they don’t know for sure if there are any functioning extraterrestrial crafts near Earth.
Lara Seligman contributed to this report.