Gillibrand: I'd Tell Concerned Coal Miner the Green New Deal Is 'Just Some Bipartisan Ideas'

(Updated) 'People in Ohio don't know who I am'

July 11, 2019

Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D., N.Y.) said Thursday that she would explain to a concerned Pennsylvania coal miner that the Green New Deal was "just some bipartisan ideas" to help the economy and his state grow.

Gillibrand is on a bus tour of the Rust Belt over what she calls President Donald Trump's broken promises to the voters who put him in the White House. NBC News reporter Shaquille Brewster interviewed her and noted he'd spoken with a longtime Democratic coal miner who voted for Trump in 2016 and had concerns about the Green New Deal.

"He feels it threatens his job. What's your response to something like that, to what he has to say?" Brewster asked.

"Well, I'd explain to him that the Green New Deal is just some bipartisan ideas that will actually help the economy and his state grow," Gillibrand said. "It's involved with infrastructure, more mass transit, more high-speed rail, more rural broadband, more efficient electric grid, all things that will help Pennsylvania. It's about green jobs."

The plan calls for the U.S. to reach net-zero carbon emissions in the next 10 years, a shift to 100 percent renewable energy sources, retrofitting buildings across the country, and overhauling the U.S. transportation system, to an estimated price tag of $94 trillion.

Gillibrand called it "bipartisan," but Senate Democrats voted either "nay" or "present" when it was up for a procedural vote in March, while all 53 Republicans voted it down.

The Green New Deal resolution was rolled out this year by Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D., N.Y.) and Sen. Ed Markey (D., Mass.), and Ocasio-Cortez's own chief of staff Saikat Chakrabarti called it a way to change the entire economy rather than specifically curb climate change.

Rep. Max Rose (D., N.Y.) called it a "massive socialist economic policy platform." A report from the American Enterprise Institute found the Green New Deal would have "no effect" on climate due to the U.S. contributing a fraction of the globe's greenhouse gas emissions.

Gillibrand said the bus tour was about more than getting attention and boosting her low poll numbers, which are typically between 0.5 and 1 percent. She acknowledged the voters of states like Ohio "don't know who I am."

"At the end of the day this is the beginning of a campaign," she said. "We've only had one debate out of 10 so far, so it's just the beginning. People in Ohio don't know who I am. They don't know why I'm running for president, what my background is, what I've accomplished in the last decade of public service. They don't know that I come from a district a lot like their state, a 2-to-1 Republican district that has manufacturing and agriculture."

UPDATED: Friday, 9:10 A.M.: This article initially stated Gillibrand spoke directly with a coal miner who was concerned about the Green New Deal. It was actually NBC News that spoke with the miner, and Gillibrand passed along what she'd say to him regarding his concerns about the Green New Deal.