McConnell Pushing Green New Deal Vote to Put Democrats in Corner

Ed Markey and Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez announce Green New Deal legislation in February.
Ed Markey and Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez announce Green New Deal legislation in February.Photographer: Al Drago/Bloomberg

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell is commandeering the Democrats’ Green New Deal in an attempt to expose theiConnellr divisions and force some of the party’s leading 2020 presidential candidates into an awkward vote.

The Green New Deal — mostly a collection of goals for mitigating climate change rather than a fully formed plan of action — has been a favorite punching bag for McConnell and Republicans since it was rolled out with fanfare by freshman Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and Senator Ed Markey.

“I could not be more glad that the American people will have the opportunity to learn precisely where each one of their senators stand on this radical, top-down, socialist makeover of the entire U.S. economy,” McConnell said Monday, ahead of a planned vote that could come as soon as Tuesday.

The resolution has more than 100 congressional Democrats as co-sponsors, including the six senators running for president. While Democrats are united on the need for significant action to stem climate change, they don’t agree on the specific prescriptions.

When McConnell puts the resolution on the Senate floor most Senate Democrats will be voting “present” to protest what they see as a sham vote forced by the majority leader, said Senator Dick Durbin, the No. 2 Senate Democrat. The question marks are Democrats who represent solidly Republican states who might vote no and some of the six senators running for the Democratic presidential nomination.

“This is a little trap that Senator McConnell is trying to set here that Democrats are not going to fall into,” Morgan Gray, Markey’s legislative director, said at a conference of renewable energy executives last week. “Bringing this resolution to the floor without any hearings, without any science, without any experts, without any testimony, without any amendments, is not the way the Senate should be conducting business.” MORE

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