Democrats Abandon ‘Green New Deal’ to Focus on Other Environmental Initiatives

AP Photo
AP Photo/Charlie Riedel

Democrats, facing conservative resistance to New York Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez’s “Green New Deal,” are now pivoting toward other environmental legislation.

Ocasio-Cortez had an ambitious goal: 100% renewable energy by 2030, and a wave of “green” jobs to replace the ones lost in the abandonment of more traditional sources of power. But after heated debate with the other side of the aisle, many liberal politicians are pulling back from the freshman congresswoman’s radical vision.

On Tuesday, the Senate voted against crucial Green New Deal legislation. According to The Hill, Majority Leader Mitch McConnell “set up the vote to test the Democratic Party’s unity over climate change.” Massachusetts Senator Ed Markey introduced the Green New Deal to the Senate in February, and sees this failure as a call for action from Congress.

“We’re now in the process where the hearings have started on the House side,” Markey said. “Committee after committee have had the first hearings that haven’t been held for eight years. And ideas and legislation will start emanating from committee after committee looking specifically at what has to happen.”

But even Ocasio-Cortez and the advocacy groups who lent their weight to the Green New Deal have started to back down. Josh Nelson, co-director of progressive group Credo Action, has adjusted expectations:

Right now, our ask for members of the House and Senate is to co-sponsor the Green New Deal. With a climate change denier in the White House, we don’t anticipate this or any other legislation we support being signed into law in the next 21 months.

The Sunrise Movement — a youth-oriented advocacy initiative best known for their sit-in at Nancy Pelosi’s office demanding action on climate change — is also taking a big step away. Co-founder Varshini Prakash told reporters on Tuesday that the Green New Deal was “never created with the intention of passing.”

“Ocasio-Cortez’s office is working on legislation in coming weeks and months,” Sunrise Communications Director Stephen O’Hanlon told The Hill. “It won’t just be a resolution, it would be a bill that we’d want to pass through Congress that have the principles of the Green New Deal.”

The only one left giving full-throated support to the seemingly doomed environmental legislation is President Donald Trump, of all people. “I want them to keep going forward with it because I want to campaign against it,” he said, calling it “easy to beat.”

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