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

Leroy Wright
February 13, 2019

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell announced Tuesday he'll bring Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez's signature climate proposal to a vote on the Senate floor - a move created to put Democrats on the spot. The plan calls for a New Deal-style mobilization to shift the USA economy away from fossil fuels such as oil and coal and replace them with renewable sources such as wind and solar power.

"I really don't like their policy of taking away your auto, of taking away your airplane rights", President Donald Trump said at a rally in El Paso, Texas, on Monday, referring to the memo. According to a GOP strategist that spoke with Axios, Republicans will emphasize the Green New Deal among "middle, lower classes and poverty stricken areas of America", broad constituencies crucial to either party's 2020 hopes.

Unable to get an answer from the panel on whether the Green New Deal would require the government to set up a "vacation commissar", Cheney asked who among them supports Ocasio-Cortez's proposal.

Sen. Bernie Sanders, who lost in the 2016 Democratic presidential primary, has also supported the Green New Deal, which calls for reducing auto and plane travel.

Republicans largely remained silent on the Green New Deal late a year ago when Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.) and a cadre of left-leaning Democrats began demanding a select committee in the House devoted to the proposal.

Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) has also expressed his support for the initiative, but has not formally announced whether he will run for president in 2020.

"I don't need to co-sponsor every bill that others think they need to co-sponsor to show my progressive politics", he told reporters. McConnell's aim is to split Democrats between the left-leaning members vying for the passions of their party's base and more moderate senators who view the proposal as radical and disruptive.

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In December, a poll from Yale and George Mason universities found that 81 percent of registered voters supported the goals of a Green New Deal, including 64 percent of Republicans and 57 percent of conservative Republicans. In July 2017, Republicans forced a vote on a single-payer health care system.

The resolution submitted to the House and Senate makes no mention of cows or air travel.

Ocasio-Cortez issued her own rebuke hours later.

The plan actually calls for expansion of public transit and high speed rail, to reduce dependence on cars and planes.

"For far too long, ideas like a carbon tax or cap-and-trade were touted as the premier solutions to climate change", Ocasio-Cortez said in a series of tweets coinciding with the unveiling of the proposal.

Corbin Trent, a spokesman for Ocasio-Cortez, said the quip about cows and airplanes was meant to be ironic, but Trump and other Republicans seized on it as an example of the plan's excesses.

It's unclear exactly what kind of measure McConnell plans to bring up for a vote in the Senate.

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