- Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez delivered a passionate defence of her Green New Deal proposal on Tuesday as Republicans brought the nonbinding resolution up for a vote in the Senate.
- The Senate rejected the Green New Deal on Tuesday in what Democrats described as a political stunt designed to put pressure on vulnerable incumbents.
- Ocasio-Cortez argued that ambitious proposals to fight climate change would be less costly than the devastating environmental impacts that scientists fear will happen without action.
- “As towns and cities go underwater, as wildfires ravage our communities, we’re going to pay,” Ocasio-Cortez said in a House committee hearing. “And we have to decide whether we’re going to pay to react or pay to be proactive.”
Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez on Tuesday delivered a passionate defence of her Green New Deal proposal, a sweeping nonbinding House resolution designed to simultaneously fight climate change and boost the American economy.
One of the biggest criticisms of the ambitious plan – which calls for decarbonizing the economy and implementing massive public-works projects and benefits – is its projected cost in taxpayer dollars.
The New York Democrat addressed that issue, arguing that if the US doesn’t spend the billions, if not trillions, of dollars necessary to implement the Green New Deal in the next decade, the country will pay far greater costs as the result of environmental devastation.
“As towns and cities go underwater, as wildfires ravage our communities, we’re going to pay,” she said during an unrelated House Financial Services committee hearing. “And we have to decide whether we’re going to pay to react or pay to be proactive. I can tell you now, the cost of pursuing a Green New Deal will be far less than the cost of not passing it.”
"We talk about cost—we’re going to pay for this whether we pass a Green New Deal or not. Because as towns and cities go underwater, as wildfires ravage our communities, we’re going to pay. And we have to decide whether we’re going to pay to react, or pay to be proactive."
— Brian Tyler Cohen (@briantylercohen) March 27, 2019
The 29-year-old freshman lawmaker argued that her resolution wasn’t an “elitist” demand, pointing to environmental disasters that had affected poor urban and rural communities across the US.
“You want to tell people that their concern and their desire for clean air and clean water is elitist?” she said. “Tell that to the kids in the South Bronx, which are suffering from the highest rates of childhood asthma in the country.”
“People are dying,” she said, adding: “And the response from across the aisle is to introduce an amendment five minutes before a hearing and a markup? This is serious. This should not be a partisan issue.”
Asthma levels in the Bronx have long been documented. “In the Bronx, New York, one of the poorest counties in the US, asthma is the leading cause of hospitalisation and of school absence for children,” began a 2009 study posted on the National Institutes of Health website. “Pediatric asthma prevalence rates in Bronx children far exceed national pediatric asthma rates.”
More recently, a 2015 profile of New York City Community Health Profile for areas in the South Bronx said “the asthma emergency department visit rate among children ages 5 to 17 in Mott Haven and Melrose is nearly triple the citywide rate.”
“Science should not be partisan,” Ocasio-Cortez said. “We are facing a national crisis.”
The Senate rejected the Green New Deal on Tuesday in what Democrats described as a political stunt orchestrated by Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell to force vulnerable incumbents to stake a position on the controversial plan.
The resolution received a vote without having gone through the formal committee process, and as a result, almost all Democrats voted “present” on it, bringing the final vote tally to 57 opposed and zero in favour.
In a tweet, Ocasio-Cortez said she urged her colleagues to vote “present.”
Because I encouraged them to vote present, along w/ others.
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? https://t.co/de8oKOXeJf
— Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (@AOC) March 26, 2019
Safe to presume this is Ocasio-Cortez’s next viral video from a committee hearing pic.twitter.com/SrBd6MY5Xx
— Shane Goldmacher (@ShaneGoldmacher) March 27, 2019
Other Democrats slammed the Republican move as well.
“Republicans want to force this political stunt to distract from the fact that they neither have a plan nor a sense of urgency to deal with the threat of climate change,” Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer said on the Senate floor on Tuesday.
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