Rep. Ocasio-Cortez Says She Told Senate Democrats to Vote ‘Present’ on Green New Deal

U.S. Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, D-New York, waves to supporters as she arrives at a rally organized by Women's March NYC at Foley Square in Lower Manhattan, Saturday, Jan. 19, 2019, in New York. (AP Photo/Kathy Willens)
AP Photo/Kathy Willens

The Senate crushed the Green New Deal on Tuesday with a 0-57 vote against the resolution, with three Democrats and one Independent voting “no” and 43 Democrats voting “present.”

Democrats tried to spin the resolution’s failure into a win for the radical proposal, including Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY), who introduced it last month and took credit for Democrats not voting in favor of the measure.

Ocasio-Cortez took to Twitter to respond to Sen. John Barrasso (R-WY), chairman of the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee, who tweeted: “Why did Senate Democrats just duck a vote on your #GreenNewDeal?”

“Because I encouraged them to vote present, along w/ others,” Ocasio Cortez tweeted. “McConnell tried to rush the #GreenNewDeal straight to the floor without a hearing.”

“The real question we should be asking: Why does the Senate GOP refuse to hold any major hearings on climate change?” Ocasio-Cortez tweeted.

Ocasio-Cortez also called out Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) for calling the vote without any climate change hearings and accused him of putting Americans health in danger.

“What McConnell’s doing is that he’s trying to rush this bill to the floor without a hearing, without any markups … — because he doesn’t want to save our planet,” Ocasio Cortez tweeted: Because he thinks we can drink oil in 30 years when all our water is poisoned.

Forty-three Democrats voted “present” on the resolution on Tuesday and three Democrats — Sens. Joe Manchin (D-WV), Kyrsten Sinema (D-AZ), and Doug Jones (D-AL) — voted against the resolution. Sen. Angus King (I-ME) also voted with Republicans against the Green New Deal resolution.

The leftist website Vox also spun the 0-57 vote as positive for the future of the Green New Deal.

Democrats predominately voted “present” on the resolution as a means of calling out Republicans, who had set up this vote to highlight potential splits in the Democratic caucus and force lawmakers to splinter from a high-profile, progressive idea.

As the thinking goes, if only part of the Democratic caucus wound up backing the idea, Republicans could argue that it didn’t actually have enough support from the party. They could also suggest that 2020 Senate Democrats — all of whom have expressed support for the proposal — weren’t actually down to follow through if they didn’t vote in favor of it. Additionally, the move was aimed at putting Democrats from more moderate states in a tough position, forcing them to choose between backing a popular liberal idea and potentially turning off some of their constituents.

Given its underlying motivations, McConnell’s plan got a scathing rebuke from Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY), a co-sponsor of the Green New Deal and a progressive star in the Democratic Party.

But on the Republican side members of the House Western Caucus praised the resolution’s defeat after its efforts to uncover the toll the New Green Deal would take on the American economy and workers.

“The Green New Deal is a Soviet-style takeover of our entire economy that would radically transform America into a country that would be very bleak and unrecognizable from what we know and love today,” Rep. Paul Gosar (R-AZ), chairman of the Caucus, said following the vote. “This trojan horse for socialism includes a one-size-fits-all government-run health care system as well as extremely expensive job, housing and education guarantees.”

“The Green New Deal costs $93 trillion and every single American family $600,000 in the first ten years alone,” Gosar said. “The Green New Deal would significantly increase taxes for all taxpayers in order to pay for this exorbitant fantasy. Make no mistake, the Green New Deal is a death sentence for the American Dream.”

“The fact that 43 Senate Democrats couldn’t bear to vote no on the Green New Deal should frighten the hell out of the country,” Rep. Tom McClintock (R-CA), chief water and wildlife officer for the caucus, said.

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