(Bloomberg) — Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said he plans to put the Democrats’ Green New Deal to a vote so “everyone can go on record and see how they feel about” the measures designed to fight climate change.
Senate GOP leaders who joined McConnell at a news conference in Washington on Tuesday criticized the measure, saying it would increase energy costs.
“To me, this is just so extreme,” said John Barrasso of Wyoming. “It is a bad deal for the American public.”
The legislation is a sweeping package of climate-change measures unveiled by Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez has drawn a tepid response from House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, who didn’t explicitly throw her support behind the ideas. McConnell’s aim is to split Democrats between the left-leaning members vying for the passions of the party base and more moderate senators who view the proposal as radical and disruptive.
“What is their answer on climate change? What are they going to put forward?” Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer of New York told reporters after McConnell announced plans for a vote.
The proposals known as the Green New Deal were crafted in conjunction with Senator Ed Markey of Massachusetts. The Democrats’ plan envisions shifting away from fossil fuels and other sources of emissions that cause global warming within 10 years. It also includes non-environmental measures designed to address social injustices, like economic insecurity, affordable housing and universal health care.
Endorsing some form of a Green New Deal has become a litmus test for Democrats going into the 2020 campaign. Five of the declared candidates for the party’s presidential nomination have signed on as co-sponsors of the measure in the Senate: Kirsten Gillibrand of New York, Kamala Harris of California, Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts, Cory Booker of New Jersey and Amy Klobuchar of Minnesota.
Other Democrats have expressed support for the general concept of accelerating a conversion to renewable energy and cutting carbon emissions, if not the specific proposals in the legislation.
–With assistance from Laura Litvan, Sahil Kapur and Ari Natter.
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