WASHINGTON – Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and Sen. Ed Markey have reintroduced the Green New Deal, the sweeping climate change and economic justice plan that Republicans have used to paint Democrats as radical socialists.
The proposal is a redux of the same resolution the two lawmakers introduced in 2019, calling not just for a decarbonization of the economy but also a fundamental reshaping of the nation’s social safety net to steer substantially more government help to low-income and minority communities.
The 10-year mobilization plan calls for free higher education for all Americans, “affordable, safe, and adequate” housing, an expansion of millions more union jobs, and high-quality health care.
Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, D-N.Y., speaks during a Tuesday press conference to reintroduce the Green New Deal. (Photo: MANDEL NGAN, AFP via Getty Images)
“Not only do we refuse to leave any community behind but those who have been left behind come first,” Ocasio-Cortez, D-N.Y., said during a Capitol Hill news conference Tuesday. “We’re going to transition to a 100% carbon-free economy that is more unionized, more just, more dignified and that guarantees more health care and housing than we’re ever had before. That’s our goal.”
Although the resolution has more than 100 co-sponsors in the House, there’s no indication congressional leaders in either chamber will bring it to the floor for a vote any time soon.
The reintroduction of the measure comes the same week President Joe Biden will host 40 world leaders for a virtual climate summit on Thursday and Friday. The summit will include Russian President Vladimir Putin, French President Emmanuel Macron and Saudi King Salman.
This week’s summit is meant to signal a renewed U.S. commitment to leading the global fight against climate change after four years in which the Trump administration played down the threat.
A United Nations report issued in December said the world isn’t doing nearly enough to rein in fossil fuel production to the level necessary to halt “catastrophic” levels of global warming.
Countries around the world are poised to pump out over 120% more fossil fuels than needed to meet the Paris Climate Agreement that the U.S. just rejoined. The report said that to meet the Paris goals, countries would need to wind down fossil fuel production by 6% a year over the coming decade.
Republicans routinely ridiculed the Green New Deal in the past, calling it a social “manifesto” that showed how out of touch Democrats are. In 2019, then-Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., brought the resolution to the floor without any hearings as a ploy to get Democrats on record in support of the measure. No senators, including all Democrats, voted for the resolution in what Democratic Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., called a “sham” process.
Markey told reporters he’s optimistic about its chances this time because much has changed since the Green New Deal was first introduced: Black Lives Matter protests have shined a spotlight on racial injustice, a change in administration, and corporations have begun to realize they need to act as well.
“General Motors is now moving to produce electric vehicles by 2035,” he said. “That was not on the scoreboard two years ago.”
The announcement comes ahead of the 51st Earth Day on Thursday and just weeks after Biden introduced the $2.25 Trillion American Jobs Plan last month, which would steer billions to battle climate change, including $35 billion to develop new technologies, $10 billion to create a Civilian Climate Corps to help advance certain initiatives and $50 billion to make the nation’s infrastructure more climate-resilient.
Both Markey and Ocasio-Cortez said the Biden plan doesn’t go far enough though they acknowledged it’s a start that has incorporated some progressive ideas.
Contributing: Doyle Rice, Deirdre Shesgreen
Source: Read Full Article