Oca­sio-Cortez’s Green New Deal draws laughs, di­vides Democrats

The Washington Times Weekly - - Politics - BY VA­LERIE RICHARD­SON

No doubt Rep. Alexan­dria Oca­sio-Cortez, New York Demo­crat, wanted to make a splash Thurs­day with the re­lease of the much-an­tic­i­pated Green New Deal, and that she did.

The wildly am­bi­tious pro­gres­sive grab­bag drew sup­port from 2020 Demo­cratic pres­i­den­tial con­tenders, a luke­warm re­sponse from House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, and guf­faws on the right over some of the de­mands, start­ing with eco­nomic se­cu­rity for those “un­will­ing to work.”

That item ap­peared in an FAQ that ac­com­pa­nied the non-bind­ing res­o­lu­tion posted by NPR. The FAQ also ex­plained that spon­sors opted for a goal of net-zero green­house-gas emis­sions in­stead of zero emis­sions “be­cause we aren’t sure that we’ll be able to fully get rid of fart­ing cows and air­planes that fast.”

Sen. Mazie Hirono, Hawaii Demo­crat, ex­pressed reser­va­tions about re­plac­ing air travel with high-speed rail, telling Fox News, “That would be pretty hard for Hawaii,” while Rep. Rob Bishop, Utah Re­pub­li­can, said the mea­sure had him hop­ing to “wake up from this twi­light zone.”

“I guess I need to start look­ing at cut­ting back on my air travel now as well as cur­tail­ing other daily ac­tiv­i­ties like eat­ing ham­burg­ers,” Mr. Bishop quipped in a state­ment.

Af­ter months of an­tic­i­pa­tion, the Green New Deal emerged in the form of a non­bind­ing res­o­lu­tion that called for net-zero green­house-gas emis­sions from power pro­duc­tion as part of a “10-year mo­bi­liza­tion” on ev­ery­thing from en­ergy to in­fra­struc­ture to racism.

Ms. Oca­sio-Cortez de­scribed the Green New Deal’s re­lease as a “wa­ter­shed mo­ment” at a press con­fer­ence with its Se­nate spon­sor, Sen. Ed­ward Markey, Mas­sachusetts Demo­crat.

“To­day I think is a re­ally big day for our econ­omy, the la­bor move­ment, the so­cialjus­tice move­ment, in­dige­nous peo­ples, and peo­ple all over the United States of Amer­ica, be­cause to­day is the day that we truly em­bark on a com­pre­hen­sive agenda of eco­nomic, so­cial and racial jus­tice,” Ms. Oca­sio-Cortez said.

Her of­fice also re­moved Thurs­day an on­line doc­u­ment that re­peated the line about pay­ing those “un­able or un­will­ing to work,” while the Re­pub­li­can Study Com­mit­tee dinged the con­gress­woman for her web­site photo of an off­shore oil rig.

Repub­li­cans who weren’t laugh­ing promptly de­cried the plan as a “Tro­jan horse for So­cial­ism,” as the House Re­pub­li­can Con­fer­ence put it, while the Re­pub­li­can Na­tional Com­mit­tee called it a “so­cial­ist wish list” that would cost at least $2 tril­lion and elim­i­nate one mil­lion jobs.

“What we’re see­ing is a Demo­crat dis­as­ter. They just keep go­ing fur­ther and fur­ther left and they can’t help them­selves,” said Al­fredo Or­tiz, founder of the free-mar­ket Job Cre­ators Net­work.

Mean­while, the Demo­cratic re­ac­tion ranged from en­thu­si­as­tic sup­port from sev­eral 2020 hope­fuls, in­clud­ing Sens. Cory Booker of New Jersey, Ka­mala Har­ris of Cal­i­for­nia and El­iz­a­beth War­ren of Mas­sachusetts, to an arms-length re­sponse from Mrs. Pelosi.

The speaker re­ferred to the mea­sure as “the green dream, or what­ever they call it,” in an in­ter­view Wed­nes­day with Politico. She also is­sued what was viewed as a snub Thurs­day by fail­ing to put Ms. Oca­sio-Cortez on the newly formed Se­lect Com­mit­tee on the Cli­mate Cri­sis.

The first-term con­gress­woman said at the press event that the speaker had of­fered to place her on the panel.

“Speaker Pelosi and I have spo­ken at length about cli­mate. We share this pri­or­ity. She did in fact in­vite me to be on the com­mit­tee,” Ms. Oca­sio-Cortez said. “So I don’t think that this is a snub, I don’t think this is any­thing like that.”

At her weekly press con­fer­ence Thurs­day, the speaker said she was glad to see the “en­thu­si­asm” sur­round­ing the Green New Deal, but also de­scribed it as just one of many pro­pos­als de­signed to com­bat global warm­ing.

“Quite frankly I haven’t seen it, but I do know that it’s en­thu­si­as­tic, and we wel­come all the en­thu­si­asm that’s out there,” Mrs. Pelosi said. “I’m very ex­cited about it all, and I wel­come the Green New Deal and any other pro­pos­als.”

The Sierra Club en­dorsed the res­o­lu­tion, call­ing it a “bold plan to tackle the cli­mate cri­sis and in­equal­ity — two of the defin­ing crises of our time — at the speed and scale that sci­ence and jus­tice de­mand.”

Oth­ers on the left were dis­ap­pointed by its fail­ure to call for an out­right elim­i­na­tion of fos­sil fu­els or put heft be­hind the pro­pos­als by of­fer­ing them as leg­is­la­tion.

“The Democrats face a choice: Ei­ther have the courage to take on the fos­sil fuel in­dus­try and lay out a bold plan for a clean en­ergy econ­omy by 2030 or con­tinue to take dirty in­dus­try money and fail to pre­vent cli­mate chaos,” said the Green Party in a state­ment.

AS­SO­CI­ATED PRESS

Rep. Alexan­dria Oca­sio-Cortez hailed the re­lease of her much-an­tic­i­pated Green New Deal Wed­nes­day as a “wa­ter­shed mo­ment.”

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