Ocasio-Cortez, Progressives Push Anew for Green New Deal

Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and Senator Ed Markey reintroduced their “Green New Deal” resolution, keeping up pressure on President Joe Biden to take sweeping action to address climate change.

“We’re going to transition to a 100% carbon free economy that is more unionized, more just, more dignified and guarantees more health care and housing than we ever have before,” Ocasio-Cortez said at a news conference Tuesday.

Ocasio-Cortez, Progressives Push Anew for Green New Deal

The revival of the plan, two years after it was blocked in the then-GOP controlled Senate, precedes a virtual international summit that Biden is convening with world leaders this week coinciding with Earth Day. The administration is expected to use the summit to unveil its goal for reducing greenhouse gases, a key part of the Paris climate accord that Biden had the U.S. rejoin on his first day in office.

Markey said he wants to see Biden go further than what he has already proposed on climate action.

“We are going to be calling for the highest aspirations that our country can reach,” the Massachusetts Democrat said. “We want to go big. Even bigger.”

The progressives’ Green New Deal resolution calls for the country to achieve net-zero greenhouse gas emissions along with a 10-year mobilization effort that would invest money in several areas including infrastructure and reducing air and water pollution. The proposal also aims to address economic and racial disparities related to climate change.

The plan will make sure that “rural communities whose infrastructure was never properly built in the first place are first in line to rectify the injustices of the past to make sure that they get everything that they need to thrive in the future,” Ocasio-Cortez, of New York, said.

But chances of getting the proposal passed through both chambers of Congress, even with Democrats in control, are grim. The Green New Deal has been derided by Republicans and rejected by some moderate Democrats.

GOP lawmakers are undertaking their own climate messaging campaign ahead of Biden’s summit with videos and statements contrasting their vision of the country’s energy future with that of Democrats. The Green New Deal was a particular target.

House GOP leader Kevin McCarthy tweeted that the Green New Deal “would destroy our economy -- plain and simple. Socialism isn’t the answer to climate change -- Republicans have a plan to tackle emissions without upending our way of life.”

Wyoming Senator John Barrasso, the ranking Republican on the Energy and Natural Resources Committee, accused backers of the Green New Deal of having a broader agenda than the environment.

“It’s about massively increasing the size of government and dictating how Americans live their lives,” he said in a statement. “The last thing we need now is to double down on the punishing policies we have already seen from the Biden administration.”

Though it would be tough to pass as a whole, the Green New Deal has become the foundation for the progressive stance on climate change.

Progressives have introduced several pieces of related legislation and are working to have their climate priorities included in Biden’s upcoming infrastructure package. Some have criticized the $2.25 trillion price tag on the plan of being too small.

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