Ocasio-Cortez: Manchin Will Be 'Huge Challenge' to Passing Green New Deal

'Our entire system is incentivized to destroying our planet'

August 15, 2019

Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D., N.Y.) in an interview on Thursday said Sen. Joe Manchin's (D., W.Va.) role as chairman on the Senate Energy and Commerce Committee will make passing the Green New Deal a "huge challenge."

Ocasio-Cortez sat down for an interview on Thursday with the liberal "Pod Save America" podcast, where she claimed Manchin will be a roadblock to solving the climate crisis. Jon Favreau, who served as a speechwriter for former president Barack Obama and currently co-hosts the podcast, said solving the climate crisis with the Green New Deal "requires a mass mobilization like we haven't seen since World War II and it requires it urgently."

"It requires it at a time when our political system is in crisis because one of our parties has been radicalized," Favreau said. "Where do we begin to make real progress on this when our best hope is Democratic president, 51 senators, no filibuster, and then you are still dealing with Joe Manchin?"

"It's a huge challenge, especially with Manchin as chairman of energy and commerce in the Senate. This is where I think a huge amount of public sentiment comes in and when we first introduced the resolution, one of the biggest critiques that we get on the left is that it's too much, it's too sweeping."

She went on to say the "entire system" in the United States is "incentivized to destroying our planet and the only home that we live on."

"The reason it has to be so sweeping is because we need to give our entire economy, I think, a golden gate of retreat and decarbonization," Ocasio-Cortez said. "The Green New Deal I think is in many parts is also an economic stimulus package for main street. We had no problem blinking or snapping our fingers and passing the stimulus package, which created a large of amount of political resentment as well because we bailed out Wall Street and did very little for main street. I think this is the answer for that."

The estimated cost of a Green New Deal is $94.4 trillion, according to a February study conducted by the American Action Forum.

The American Action Forum calculated guaranteed green housing would cost between $1.6 trillion and $4.2 trillion; a federal jobs guarantee between $6.8 trillion and $44.6 trillion; a net zero emissions transportation system between $1.3 trillion and $2.7 trillion; a low-carbon electricity grid for $5.4 trillion; and "food security" for $1.5 billion.

Enough high-speed rail "to make air travel unnecessary," would cost roughly $1.1 to $2.5 trillion. Universal Health Care, or a Medicare-for-all type plan, would cost $36 trillion over 10 years, totaling $260,000 per household in the United States.

Manchin, who is mulling a potential run for governor, has been an outspoken critic of the Green New Deal resolution that was proposed earlier this year by Ocasio-Cortez and Sen. Ed Markey (D., Mass.). He released a statement back in March, dismissing the resolution and announcing his vote against it.

"While I appreciate the renewed conversation around climate change that the Green New Deal and its supporters have sparked, I think we need to focus on real solutions that recognize the role fossil fuels will continue to play," Manchin said. "That’s why I voted against the resolution today."

"I have said it before: manmade climate change is real and it’s a serious threat to our citizens, to our economy, to our environment, to our national security and to our world," Manchin continued. "This climate problem is a massive one and we must act, but aspirational documents will not solve this crisis –real solutions focused on innovation will."