Ocasio-Cortez Boasts of Steering Democratic Party Left with Green New Deal

US Representative-elect Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY) reacts after drawing a lottery number for her new office on Capitol Hill November 30, 2018 in Washington, DC.
Brendan Smialowski / AFP

Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY) is defending the Green New Deal she and Sen. Ed Markey (D-MA) unveiled on Thursday, citing support from 70 House Democrats and all Democrat presidential candidates.

The non-binding resolution calls for a broad range of economic and energy infrastructure transformations in the United States, from ending air travel and the combustible engine to guaranteeing jobs, housing, and health care for all Americans.

Ocasio-Cortez, who is a self-described “Democratic Socialist,” responded to a false version of the resolution that circulated on social media, including her boast about support from Democrats.

The Wall Street Journal reported that the Green New Deal launched climate change into the spotlight and will make it a central issue in the 2020 presidential election.

Democratic presidential contenders Sens. Elizabeth Warren (D., Mass.), Kamala Harris (D., Calif.), Cory Booker (D., N.J.), Kirsten Gillibrand (D., N.Y.) are co-sponsoring the legislation in the Senate, as is 2016 candidate and possible 2020 hopeful Bernie Sanders (I., Vt.).

The Green New Deal offers Democratic candidates for president a contrast with President Trump, who has cast doubt on the human role in climate change and on predictions by U.S. government scientists that climate change could cost the U.S. economy hundreds of billions of dollars a year by the end of the century. The Trump administration has also moved to ease regulations on the fossil fuel industry and has moved to withdraw the U.S. from the Paris agreement limiting carbon emissions.

“This is going to enter the 2020 election cycle as one of the top two or three issues for every candidate,” Sen. Ed Market (D-MA), co-sponsor of the resolution with Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY), said on Thursday.

WSJ noted that the resolution, let alone legislation with such sweeping changes to the U.S. economy and infrastructure, would never be passed by the Republican-controlled Senate.

“This Green New Deal…would be a raw deal for American families as the cost of energy skyrockets under their leftist plan,” Sen. John Barrasso (R-WY), the chairman of the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee, said in the WSJ story.

Nancy Pelosi announced on Thursday the formation of the Select Committee on the Climate Crisis and named Democrats and Republicans to serve on it. Pelosi did not tap Ocasio-Cortez for the committee.

And one of its Democratic members is already questioning the ideas in the Green New Deal resolution.

“In terms of aspirational goals, it’s lovely,” Rep. Sean Casten (D-IL) said in the WSJ report. “I’d love to live in a world that’s totally clean and has green jobs for everyone and all sorts of other benefits.”

“I don’t know how you get there,” Casten said. “There’s a real danger in leading people off cliffs before the bridge is built.”

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