Too extreme Green New Deal falters

A massive climate change resolution named after the Great Depression public works program is withering on Capitol Hill.

Dubbed the “Green New Deal,” it is a plan to transform the United States to achieve net-zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2030. It calls for monumental public investment in renewable energy and infrastructure and promises the creation of millions of high-wage jobs – all within ten years.

That’s not all. It also calls for measures to eliminate economic and social inequality in America.

Strange party lines

Supporters, mostly Democrats, said drastic measures are needed to transform society and remove carbon emissions.

Opponents, mostly Republicans, oppose the non-binding resolution saying its unrealistic and much too costly. Recently, more Democrats are coming out against the proposal as well, saying it’s unrealistic.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY), took the measure to the floor March 26, saying he wanted a record of the vote. There were no hearings or testimony. The proposal is so far-fetched, McConnell said, it would “crush” communities with the cost of it.  

“This is nonsense, and if you’re going to sign on to nonsense, you ought to have to vote for nonsense,” he told reporters later.

The Republican-controlled body voted 57-0 against. Almost all of the Democrats failed to vote out of protest, saying McConnell was making a mockery of the measure. Most voted “present.”

Three Democrats switched ranks including Arizona’s senior senator Kyrsten Sinema, who voted “no.”

“We need to address a changing climate with realistic, achievable solutions,” Sinema said in a written statement after the bill failed in the Senate. “Congress should stop the political games and work together on practical solutions that foster a healthy environment, grow our economy, and help Arizona families get ahead.”

What is the Green New Deal?

The non-binding resolution bill was introduced by two freshman Democrats, Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and Sen. Edward Markey.

Named after the New Deal, the public works program that helped America out of the ten-year Great Depression in the 1930s’, the Green New Deal is contained in a wordy, vague and enormous document that calls for sweeping measures.

For example, it calls for upgrading “all existing buildings” in the country to renewable energy – all within ten years.

It also calls for “repairing historic oppression,” strengthening labor unions, ensuring quality health care for all, guaranteeing high paying jobs for all, and much more – all within ten years.

Who would pay for it?

There is no funding vehicle for the proposal. Industry and citizens would pay the costs that reach far into the tens of trillions, opponents said.

“Communities practically everywhere else would be absolutely crushed,” McConnell said before the Senate floor vote. “Killing off entire domestic industries. Winding down millions of jobs. Basically outlawing the only sources of energy that working-class and middle-class families can actually afford.”

For now the proposal is dead. But that does not mean climate change is, Arizona’s two senators, Sinema and Martha McSally (R) said.

“We must find serious solutions to protect the environment and taxpayers,” McSally said in a written statement. “The Green New Deal is a pipe dream that would bankrupt hardworking Arizona families. I look forward to working on bipartisan solutions that protect our beautiful outdoors without hurting families.”

Victoria Harker

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