Published: Wed, February 13, 2019
Worldwide | By Jermaine Blake

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

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

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., has announced he will schedule a vote on the Democrats' "Green New Deal".

Last Thursday, progressive Democrats unveiled a plan to "transform" the US economy to combat climate change with a "10-year national mobilization" to shift away from fossil fuels and replace them with renewable energy sources.

Republican Senator John Barrasso, chair of the Senate environment committee, said Democrats were proposing a plan that "raises taxes, that overthrows really a productive energy market that we have right now in this country, raises energy costs, forces people out of work who are working in the energy field".

The Green New Deal doesn't entirely halt the use of coal or oil, but seeks to offset that pollution through increasing forests, which absorb carbon dioxide.

Republicans have used the Green New Deal to try to sow discord within the Democratic party, painting their political rivals as shifting to the left and embracing extreme policies.

Democratic Sens. Cory Booker (N.J.), Kamala Harris (Calif.), Elizabeth Warren (Mass.) and Kirsten Gillibrand (N.Y.) - who are running for president in 2020 - have all endorsed a resolution in support of the Green New Deal introduced by Sen.

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. Vermont Independent Sen. Bernie Sanders, who's likely to enter the Democratic primary soon, is also a supporter.

"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.

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The vote wouldn't be the first time Senate Republicans forced Democratic presidential hopefuls to go on the record about a liberal proposal they believe will alienate moderate voters later.

"I would just say that it's going to be crucially important for us to recognize and understand when we outlaw plane travel, we outlaw gasoline, we outlaw cars, I think actually probably the entire USA military, because of the Green New Deal, that we are able to explain to our constituents and to people all across this country what that really means", Cheney said.

Ocasio-Cortez issued her own rebuke hours later. In July 2017, Republicans forced a vote on a single-payer health care system.

The resolution is expected to fail in the Senate.

The plan actually calls for expansion of public transit and high speed rail, to reduce dependence on cars and planes. And it made the impolitic statement: "We set a goal to get to net-zero, rather than zero emissions, in 10 years because we aren't sure that we'll be able to fully get rid of farting cows and airplanes that fast".

Almost all of the Democratic senators running for president have thrown their support behind the Green New Deal, but the bill does not enjoy the same success among the rest of Democratic senators, with only 11 of 47 supporting the deal, according to a report from CNBC.

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.

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