Republican-Controlled Senate to Vote on Democrats' Green New Deal

Clay Curtis
February 13, 2019

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said he will put the Democrats "Green New Deal" up for a floor vote.

"I've noted with great interest the Green New Deal", McConnell told reporters at the Capitol. He wants to silence your voice so Republicans don't have to explain why they are climate change deniers.

The Green New Deal, as written in Ocasio-Cortez's proposal, offers a broad plan to fight climate change with room for more specific policies to make the United States carbon neutral in 10 years.

Introduced by freshman Rep. Alexandra Ocasio-Cortez, D-N.Y., it has gotten some lip service from presidential hopefuls in the Senate, including Sens. The resolution calls for universal health care, a guarantee of high-wage jobs to American workers displaced by the rapid transition away from fossil fuels, and explicit protections for marginalized communities and indigenous tribes.

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"We welcome the enthusiasm that is there", she said in a news conference last week, later adding, "I'm very excited about it all, and I welcome the Green New Deal and any other proposals that people have out there".

Whatever happens next, it's becoming increasingly clear that the Green New Deal is turning into something the two parties think they can use to their advantage. When asked about the Green New Deal on Tuesday, Senator Sherrod Brown of OH, who is reportedly considering a presidential run, said that he supports a Green New Deal but is "not going to take a position on every bill that's coming out". Thus far, only one candidate, Amy Klobuchar, has explicitly stated she would not support the legislation, while Democrats including Kamala Harris, Elizabeth Warren, Kirsten Gillibrand, and Cory Booker have expressed their support. A narrow majority of voters support raising taxes to fund a Green New Deal, according to a survey released last month by the think tank Data for Progress.

Each of the five Democratic senators who have announced White House bids are already signed on as co-sponsors to the Senate version of the resolution, which Massachusetts Democratic Sen. The ambitious proposal has been spearheaded by Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez.

Democrats and Republicans may have reached a deal to avoid another shutdown, but it has come under criticism from both sides of the aisle. McConnell wants to get Democratic presidential candidates on the record about the controversial, but nevertheless exciting policy moonshot, so that Republicans can hit them with attacks mischaracterizing the deal, as Trump did at his El Paso rally on Monday: "I really don't like their policy of taking away your auto, of taking away your airplane rights, of 'let's hop a train to California, ' of you're not allowed to own cows anymore!" "American favorites like cheeseburgers and milkshake will become a thing of the past", said Sen. John Barrasso (R-WY), chairman of the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee.

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