- The Senate plans to vote on the Green New Deal later this week.
- The decision to hold a vote was made by Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell.
- Republicans say the vote will provide Democrats an “opportunity to go on the record” about what they think will be a key campaign issue in 2020.
- Democrats who support the Green New Deal have panned the vote as a political stunt.
WASHINGTON – The Senate is scheduled to vote on the Green New Deal bill this week, a move by Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell that Democrats are panning as an unserious political ploy.
McConnell largely controls which legislation makes it to the floor, which makes his decision to bring the Democratic base’s flagship piece of legislation up for a vote particularly enraging to Democrats.
McConnell has characterised it as an “opportunity to go on the record” to see where Democrats stand on the nonbinding resolution that lays out a staggering plan to fundamentally transform large swaths of the US economy in response to climate change.
Groups like the National Republican Senatorial Committee – the Senate GOP’s official campaign arm – could use the results of the vote to attack Democratic incumbents they are targeting in the 2020 elections.
It is part of a broader strategy designed to paint socialism as the big new threat to the country, a shift after years when House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and President Barack Obama were Republicans’ chief bogeymen.
“Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez is the new leader of the Democratic Party and already pushing a radical agenda that is outrageously far outside the mainstream for most Americans,” the Congressional Leadership Fund’s vice president, Zach Hunter, told INSIDER in February. “Vulnerable Democrats will have to answer for her extreme policies every day between now and Election Day in 2020.”
That is largely why the choice to hold a vote on the Green New Deal is not at all pleasing Democrats, even though it’s a Democratic proposal.
“The GOP’s whole game of wasting votes in Congress to target others ‘on the record,’ for leg they have no intent to pass, is a disgrace,” Democratic Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez of New York wrote on Twitter. “Stop wasting the American peoples’ time + learn to govern. Our jobs aren’t for campaigning, & that’s exactly what these bluff-votes are for.”
Sen. Ed Markey, the Senate Democrat from Massachusetts who is pushing for the Green New Deal, dismissed the seriousness of McConnell’s vote on the bill.
“They are calling this vote without any hearings, without any expert testimony, without any true discussion about the cost of climate inaction and the massive potential for clean energy job creation,” Markey said, according to the Lowell Sun.
“It’s just a political stunt by Mitch McConnell to play games with an existential threat to the planet,” Markey added Monday. “We’re going to stand together on the process in order to ensure that we have hearings on the substance of climate change, which they refuse to have.”
A handful of the cosponsors in the Senate are also 2020 presidential candidates vying for the Democratic nomination, including Cory Booker, Kirsten Gillibrand, Elizabeth Warren, Amy Klobuchar, and Kamala Harris. How they vote could conflict with their actual positions on the bill, as Democrats are expected to vote “present” in protest.
Still, the vote will be the first of its kind on the Green New Deal, as the Democrat-controlled House has yet to move forward on the landmark legislation.
Business Insider Emails & Alerts
Site highlights each day to your inbox.