Ocasio-Cortez Poses 'Legitimate' Question: 'Is It Okay to Still Have Children?’

February 25, 2019

Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D., N.Y.) said Sunday that in the face of today's social and environmental concerns, it's "legitimate" for young people to ask if it's "okay" to have children.

Speaking from her apartment in the Bronx, Ocasio-Cortez answered questions from Instagram followers while she made chili. Among other topics, she gave her thoughts on the Green New Deal, climate change broadly, and when it comes to populating the planet, she said it's a "basic moral question" to ask "what do we do?"

"Our planet is going to face disaster if we don’t turn this ship around," she said. "And so it’s basically, like, there's scientific consensus that the lives of children are going to be very difficult, and it does lead, I think, young people, to have a legitimate question. Ya know, should—is it okay to still have children?"

"Not just financially, because people are graduating with 20, 30, 100 thousand dollars of student loan debt, so they can’t even afford to have kids in the house, but also there’s just this basic moral question, like, what do we do?"

During the Instagram Live stream, she also spoke of how approving the Green New Deal was necessary to avoid widespread death. She later recognized, however, that as a non-binding resolution, it would do "literally nothing" to combat climate change.

"We're screwed on climate," she said with urgency as she chopped sweet potatoes. "Like, I'm sorry to break it to you."

Ocasio-Cortez argued the only way to fight climate change was with the Green New Deal, a resolution she introduced with Sen. Ed Markey (D., Mass.) earlier this month. The resolution involves trillions of dollars in unfunded spending. A supplemental document her office posted about the deal, which was later removed from her website, explains Congress will conjure the funds for it by creating new banks and borrowing. Supporters of the plan, including Ocasio-Cortez, flatly agree it would require "massive government intervention" into the lives, wallets, and privacy of Americans.

"There is a global threat to the planet." Ocasio-Cortez said. "If we do not act, there is no hope."

"We have one shot," she said. "We have one shot, because we could have had three, four, five shots at this, but to be very frank, people didn't try. For 30 or 40 years, they rubbed their hands and said it's too complex, and now people are dying in the thousands."

Atmospheric carbon dioxide is building up at an unprecedented rate, and is difficult to remove once introduced. To target the associated environmental concerns, Democrats and Republicans alike have worked to reduce carbon emissions. In her video, Ocasio-Cortez called those working to pass bipartisan climate legislation "part of the problem." Walking around her kitchen, she explained that "people have been failing at the same thing for 30 or 40 years," and "if you think that a carbon tax alone and no other intervention is going to fix climate change, you're part of the problem."

Former New Hampshire governor John Sununu (R.) addressed the reasoning on Fox News Monday. "This has been the line of the Democrats since the mid 80s, that climate change is going to destroy the world tomorrow," he said. "Tomorrow has never come."

Sununu agreed climate change is "an issue that has to be addressed, but in a responsible way, not with the ridiculous Green New Deal." He warned that Democrats were making meaningful action less likely with their outlandish proposals, calling them "quantitatively illiterate."

Ocasio-Cortez also made clear and critical reference to Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D., Calif.). In a viral exchange last week, the senior senator from California explained to a group of panicked children that meaningful environmental legislation will take years to pass and would require more than just the wishful thinking of children.

"You know what's interesting about this group is I've been doing this for 30 years. I know what I'm doing," Feinstein said. "You come in here and you say it has to be my way or the highway. I don't respond to that. I've gotten elected, I just ran. I was elected by almost a million vote plurality. And I know what I'm doing. So you know, maybe people should listen a little bit." Feinstein went on to offer an internship to one of the group's attendees.

Ocasio-Cortez said the inaction of Feinstein and others will cause death. "This idea that if we just, you know, 'I've been working on this for x amount of years,'" is "not good enough," she said. "And people are trying to, like, introduce watered down proposals that are frankly going to kill us."

"We need a universal sense of urgency," Ocasio-Cortez said as she fought to slice a sweet potato.

On Twitter Sunday, she again went after those seeking to manage the risks and arrival of climate change, calling them "climate delayers."

Having proved to her satisfaction the unique merits and urgency of the Green New Deal during her kitchen-cum-pulpit, Ocasio-Cortez added that, when it comes down to it, everyone should support the resolution because it does nothing at all.

"The thing that's even, like, most reprehensible about the opposition to the Green New Deal is that the Green New Deal isn't even a binding bill; it's a resolution ... If we called a vote on the Green New Deal tomorrow or on Tuesday when I got back to D.C., and it passed, nothing would happen. Literally nothing would happen," she said.

Senate Democrats will have an opportunity to vote on the resolution. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R., Ky.) announced earlier this month that it would come to the Senate floor.