McConnell takes aim at Ocasio-Cortez with Green New Deal vote

Bill Clark  CQ-Roll Call Group

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) said Tuesday that he will schedule a vote on the Green New Deal, a sweeping climate and economic plan spearheaded by first-year Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (N.Y.).

He didn't say when that vote might occur, but when it does, it's likely to cause some headaches for Democrats who are eyeing a presidential bid, and who need to try to balance competing interests within their party.

Unlike past efforts to reduce emissions, the Green New Deal takes stock of the fact that climate change uniquely touches on nearly every part of the economy and threatens to wildly exacerbate a vast slate of social ills, including disease, poverty and structural racism.

McConnell is eager to get Senate Democrats on the record about their support for the resolution introduced last week by Senator Ed Markey of MA and Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez of NY.

"What is their answer on climate change?"

The Green New Deal would do none of those things, according to The Washington Post's Fact Checker, which analyzed what's actually in the proposal. "Ocasio-Cortez tried to claim over the weekend that the FAQ, sent to news outlets such as NPR and uploaded on her congressional website, is not really part of the Green New Deal's policy proposals".

Having a vote on what may be a polarizing issue among voters may force lawmakers to choose between appeasing moderates and their liberal base - among them, many progressive activists who supported the concept of a Green New Deal long before the bill was released.

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There's been word the resolution might not even get a vote in the Democratic-controlled House. "The Green New Deal resolution has struck a powerful chord in this country, and Republicans, climate deniers, and the fossil fuel industry are going to end up on the wrong side of history".

But the numbers are growing. A spokesman for the majority leader told HuffPost on Tuesday that he will not be writing his own legislation to address the threat posed by global warming.

Republicans showed on Tuesday that they are ready to use the resolution as a political weapon against those Democrats.

Although Markey and Ocasio-Cortez's office subsequently distanced themselves from the memo, Republicans quickly denounced the resolution as a Trojan horse for more controversial, left-wing proposals that are unlikely to garner the same widespread support those outlined in the resolution might.

President Donald Trump slammed the plan at a rally Monday in Texas, saying it would "shut down American energy". Livestock will be banned.

Sen. John Barrasso, R-Wyo., chairman of the Environment and Public Works Committee, however, called the plan "raw deal" that would drive "a stake into the heart of our economy", Politico reported.

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