Republican leader says U.S. Senate will vote on Green New Deal
(New throughout, adds comments from lawmakers)
By Valerie Volcovici
WASHINGTON, Feb 12 (Reuters) - Republican Senate Leader
Mitch McConnell said on Tuesday that the U.S. Senate will vote
on a "Green New Deal" introduced by Democrats that aims to slash
U.S. carbon dioxide emissions to negligible levels in a decade.
"I've noted with great interest the Green New Deal, and
we're going to be voting on that in the Senate, give everybody
an opportunity to go on record and see how they feel about the
Green New Deal," McConnell said.
The document introduced last week marked the first formal
attempt by lawmakers to define legislation to create big
government-led investments in clean energy, infrastructure and
social programs. The goal is to transition the U.S. economy away
from burning fossil fuels and emitting greenhouse gasses blamed
for climate change, rising sea levels and severe storms.
The initiative was unveiled by Democratic Representative
Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, a rising political star, and Senator
Edward Markey. The initiative has the backing of almost all the
Democrats declared as candidates seeking for the party's
nomination in the 2020 presidential election.
Co-sponsor Markey said McConnell's call for a vote before
hearings and a national debate on the Green New Deal was an
attempt to sabotage the plan.
“They have offered no plan to address this
economic and national security threat and want to sabotage any
effort that makes Big Oil and corporate polluters pay," he said
in a statement.
Republicans have used the Green New Deal to try to sow
discord within the Democratic party, painting their political
rivals as shifting to the left and embracing extreme policies.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi had called the Green New Deal a
"green dream" and some Democrats in fossil fuel-dependent or
rural districts have stayed quiet on their position.
Republican Senator John Barrasso, chair of the Senate
environment committee, said Democrats were proposing a plan that
"raises taxes, that overthrows really a productive energy market
that we have right now in this country, raises energy costs,
forces people out of work who are working in the energy field."
Barrasso represents the coal-producing state of Wyoming .
The plan outlines some of the most aggressive climate goals
ever put forward by Democratic lawmakers and clashes
dramatically with the Trump administration's efforts to advance
domestic oil, gas and coal production by rolling back
Some Democrats hit back at the Republican attempt to call
for a vote on the resolution before hearings and debates take
place, calling it a "cynical" move.
"Instead of trying to cause mischief, the #Republican Party
should put forward its own serious proposal to address
#climatechange," Democratic Senator Sheldon Whitehouse wrote on
Twitter on Tuesday.
President Donald Trump's administration opposes action on
climate change and favors boosting U.S. production of oil, gas
On Monday, Trump poked fun at the Green New Deal at his
campaign rally in El Paso, Texas, making exaggerated claims that
the policy would force people to give up air travel and owning
cows, a source of methane emissions.
"I really don't like their policy of taking away your car,
of taking away your airplane rights, of 'let's hop a train to
California,' of you're not allowed to own cows anymore!" Trump
said at the rally.
The name, Green New Deal, references the New Deal of the
1930s that President Franklin Roosevelt implemented to aid
Americans suffering in the Great Depression by embarking on huge
government-led infrastructure projects.
(Reporting by Amanda Becker, Valerie Volcovici; additional
reporting by David Alexander; writing by Doina Chiacu; editing
by Jeffrey Benkoe, Lisa Shumaker and David Gregorio)
First Published: 2019-02-12 22:42:00
Updated 2019-02-12 23:43:52
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