Why Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez’s Green New Deal is dividing Congress


In this Jan. 19, 2019, file photo, U.S. Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, (D-New York) waves to the crowd after speaking in New York. To Democratic supporters, the Green New Deal is a touchstone, a call to arms to combat climate change. To Republican opponents, it’s zealous environmentalism, a roadmap to national bankruptcy. Lost in the clamor is the reality that, if passed, the much-hyped Green New Deal would require the government to do absolutely nothing. (AP Photo/Kathy Willens, File)

WASHINGTON — To Democratic supporters, the Green New Deal is a touchstone, a call to arms to combat climate change with the full measure of the nation’s resources and technological might. “A mission to save all of creation,” in the words of Massachusetts Sen. Edward Markey, one the plan’s lead authors.

To Republican opponents, the much-hyped plan is a dystopian nightmare, a roadmap to national bankruptcy in pursuit of zealous environmentalism. “A big green bomb” for the economy, says Sen. John Barrasso of Wyoming.

Lost in the clamor is the reality that, if passed, the Green New Deal would require the government to do absolutely nothing. It exists only as a nonbinding resolution because Democrats have yet to fill in the potentially treacherous details of how to pay for the Green New Deal, how to carry it out and what, exactly, it will do.

Announced to great fanfare in February, the Green New Deal calls for a “10-year national mobilization” on the scale of the original New Deal to shift the U.S. economy away from fossil fuels such as oil and coal and replace them with renewable sources such as wind and solar power. It calls for meeting “100 percent of the power demand in the United States through clean, renewable and zero-emission energy sources,” including nuclear power.

The plan has broad support among Democratic activists, and all six of the 2020 presidential contenders serving in the Senate have signed on as co-sponsors, putting it at the forefront of the party’s sprawling primary race.

Republicans have mocked the Green New Deal as a progressive pipedream that would drive the economy off a cliff and lead to a huge tax increase. They call it more evidence of the creep of “socialism” in the Democratic Party, along with “Medicare for All” and a sweeping elections reform package that would allow public financing of congressional campaigns. MORE

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