McConnell to Get Dems on Record About Whether They Support Green New Deal

February 12, 2019

Senate Democrats will have to take a side on the proposed Green New Deal, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R., Ky.) announced Tuesday.

Speaking with reporters in the Capitol about the budget and upcoming Senate legislation, McConnell confirmed the resolution, which was introduced last week, would come before the Senate.

"I've noted with great interest the Green New Deal, and we're going to be voting on that in the Senate," he said. "We'll give everyone an opportunity to go on record and see how they feel about the Green New Deal."

The Green New Deal, an economic stimulus plan in the style of President Franklin Delano Roosevelt's expansive New Deal, aims to fight income inequality and climate change by fundamentally changing the nation's energy sources, infrastructure, and welfare. Freshman Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D., N.Y.) and veteran Sen. Ed Marky (D., Mass.) introduced the resolution with a turbulent rollout last Thursday.

The idea is not new. It received prominent support from Green Party presidential candidate Jill Stein in 2012 and 2016. Now, however, at least 15 congressional Democrats are supporting the legislation, moving the fringe idea closer to the mainstream.

The plan involves trillions of dollars in unfunded spending. A supplemental document initially released in conjunction with the 14-page resolution suggested Congress would conjure the funds for it by creating new banks and borrowing. "The Federal Reserve can extend credit to power these projects and investments and new public banks can be created to extend credit," it said. The document was later deleted on Ocasio-Cortez's website, and an advisor went so far as to suggest the document was "doctored."

McConnell's announcement of a Senate vote will force all Senate Democrats to make public their views. Outside of 2020 presidential hopefuls, few have gone on record about whether they support the deal, but five of the declared candidates for the party’s presidential nomination have signed on as co-sponsors in the Senate: Cory Booker (N.J.), Kirsten Gillibrand (N.Y.), Kamala Harris (Calif.), Amy Klobuchar (Minn.), and Elizabeth Warren, (Mass.). Independent Sen. Bernie Sanders (Vt.), who has been considering another run for the Democratic nomination after his unsuccessful 2016 bid, also signed on in support of the measure.

Supporters of the plan have admitted it will require massive government involvement in the lives, wallets, and privacy of Americans. In an interview with National Public Radio, Ocasio-Cortez addressed the prospect of stiff conservative opposition to the plan.

"One reason that people who are politically conservative are skeptical of efforts to combat climate change is that it sounds to them like it requires massive government intervention, which they just don’t like. Are you prepared to put on that table that, ‘Yes actually they’re right, what this requires is massive government intervention?'" asked Steve Inskeep, co-host of "Morning Edition."

She agreed to the characterization. "It does, it does, yeah, I have no problem saying that," Ocasio-Cortez said.

Beyond the economic and liberty issues the plan raises, it has also drawn ridicule for its impracticality.

The initial FAQ document said the plan would guarantee "economic security to all," including Americans "unwilling to work." It further wondered how quickly the United States could eliminate "farting cows and airplanes."

The Senate resolution, introduced by Markey, excludes Ocasio-Cortez's bovine bullet points.