Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) reiterated Wednesday that Senate Republicans intend to bring the Green New Deal for a floor vote within the next couple of weeks, and that Democrats should be prepared to defend their landmark environmental legislation.
In a heated debate with Minority Leader Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-NY), McConnell noted that if Democrats feel so strongly about the legislation, authored by Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortes (D-NY) and Sen. Ed Markey (D-MA), that they should anticipate voting on the bill before Congress goes into recess.
Senate Republicans opened debate on the bill Sunday night, calling the Green New Deal a “Trojan horse”-style measure that hides a complete overhaul of the American economic system, and challenging Democrats to defend the bill’s more intriguing proposals, like a universal health care system, a universal minimum wage, a jobs program that extends to those “unable” and “unwilling” to work, and trillions of dollars in infrastructure “repair.”
ABC News reports that Sen. John Cornyn (R-TX) kicked off criticism of the bill, which he referred to as both “wildly unrealistic” and a “radical environmental policy,” noting that the bill is “an attempt, really a power grab in Washington masked as feel-good environmental policy.”
Schumer fired back, challenging Cornyn to come up with his own effective piece of legislation addressing environmental issues, without making reference to the bill.
“Does he believe that climate change is real? Does he believe it’s caused by humans? And does he believe this body ought to do something about it? I’d appreciate an answer,” Schumer shot back.
Ultimately, the disagreement culminated in a debate over the $93 trillion estimated price tag for Ocasio-Cortez and Markey’s “environmental” repair plan, which includes an overhaul of the American rail system and reconstructing every structure in America to comply with Leed environmental standards.
After the GOP brought up the $93 trillion number, Markey himself accused Republicans of relying on numbers cooked up by the “Koch brothers.”
Democrats, Politico reports, are increasingly concerned that voting on the GND could become a reality, and that what they believe is a “stunt” vote, staged by Republicans, could have long-term political consequences. For now, Democrats say they plan on voting “present” for the GND in order to resist making any commitments.
McConnell made it clear this week that he intends to bring the Green New Deal to the floor for a vote, even if Democrats aren’t on board. When challenged as to why he wanted the GND to make headlines, but wouldn’t acknowledge another 223-page Democratic “voter registration reform bill” that incorporates automatic voter registration and makes Election Day a holiday, McConnell answered, simply, “Because I get to decide what we vote on.”