McConnell plans Senate vote on ‘Green New Deal’

Source: By Geof Koss, E&E News reporter • Posted: Wednesday, February 13, 2019

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) announced yesterday he plans to bring the “Green New Deal” up for a vote in the Senate.

“I’ve noted with great interest the ‘Green New Deal,'” McConnell told reporters after the Senate GOP caucus luncheon this afternoon. “We’re gonna be voting on that in the Senate. It will give everybody the opportunity to go on the record and see how they feel about the ‘Green New Deal.'”

McConnell’s comments came as Republicans have increasingly seized on the “Green New Deal” to criticize Democrats’ ambitious plans to tackle climate change, including unveiling ads this week attempting to link House Democrats to the nonbinding resolution (Greenwire, Feb. 11).

Senate Majority Whip John Thune (R-S.D.) castigated the plan as a “socialist fantasy” in Senate floor remarks this morning, during which he highlighted uncertainty about some of the goals of the plan, unveiled last week by Sen. Ed Markey (D-Mass.) and Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.) (Greenwire, Feb. 7).

“Madam President, last Thursday Democrats released their plan for a ‘Green New Deal.’ Although ‘plan’ might be a bit of a stretch; it’s more like a wish list, because while Democrats announced their desired outcomes like getting rid of fossil fuels or upgrading every single building in the United States, they provided no details at all about how to get there,” Thune said.

“In particular, they failed to provide any details on how to pay for the staggering cost of what they’re proposing to do.”

President Trump also trashed the plan at a Texas campaign-style event last night (E&E Daily, Feb. 12).

Asked about McConnell’s plans for a vote, Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) sought to highlight Republicans’ lack of a strategy to tackle climate change.

“The first question Republicans should answer is what is their answer on climate change?” Schumer said. “What are they going to put forward?”

For his part, Markey welcomed McConnell’s announcement this afternoon.

“We haven’t had a debate on climate change in 10 years, so I think it’s very important for us to have as large a debate about the issue as we can,” he told E&E News. “It’s obvious that the ‘Green New Deal’ has unleashed incredible enthusiasm.”