Congress Debates AOC’s Green New Deal


Senate Democrats

Sixty democrats support Ocasio-Cortez’s Green New Deal.

The average global temperature has risen almost 10 times faster over the last century than in any other century in the past 5,000 years. The Green New Deal, a set of programs proposed by Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and Senator Ed Markey tackling climate change and economic inequality, pledges to prevent the world from warming up 2.7˚F by the start of the 22nd century.

The Green New Deal seeks to accomplish five goals within a ten-year period: reaching net-zero emissions of greenhouse gases, creating millions of jobs that would guarantee all Americans economic stability, investing in American industries and infrastructure, and uplifting historically oppressed groups.

The deal has attracted attention in part because it guarantees improved workers rights and racial justice by, as Ocasio-Cortez’s bill states, “stopping current, preventing future, and repairing historic oppression” of minority groups in the United States.  The deal also advocates redesigning vehicles so that they do not pollute the atmosphere, switching to renewable energy sources as opposed to non-renewable fossil fuels that make up 81% of the United States’ current sources of energy within ten years, and “guaranteeing universal access to clean water.”

More than 60 Democrats in the House of Representatives are sponsoring Ocasio-Cortez’s resolution and 11 senators are sponsoring Senator Ed Markey’s (D-MA) companion resolution in the Senate. Since the resolution is non-binding, however, it will not become a law even if it is passed by both chambers of Congress. If passed, it would allow Congress to take the next step to pass legislation that would begin to address the areas laid out in the deal.

Senator Ed Markey and his supporters believe that there is no better time to act on climate change. Markey said, “The green generation has risen up, and they are saying we want this issue solved. We now have the troops, we now have the money, and we’re ready to fight.”

Some Democrats, including Representative Nancy Pelosi, Speaker of the House, have been dismissive of the resolution. Pelosi said, “It will be one of several or maybe many suggestions that we receive. The green dream, or whatever they call it, nobody knows what it is, but they’re for it, right?”

Mitch McConnell (R-KY), Senate Majority Leader, jumped at the change to capitalize on the measure’s mixed support among Democrats by attempting to rush a vote for the resolution. Ocasio-Cortez said, “McConnell thinks he can end all debate on the Green New Deal now and stop this freight train of momentum. Unfortunately for Mitch, all he’s going to do is show just how out of touch Republican politicians are with the American people.”

Many Republicans have been dismissive of the deal due to its projected cost and aggressive strategies. Rep. Paul Gosar, Republican of Arizona and chairman of the caucus said, “The Green New Deal is another climate change, socialist pipedream [sic] that attacks American jobs and our way of life.”

Diana Reiss ’20 spoke about the divide between the progressive and more moderate side of the Democratic party saying, “This ongoing tension will come to a climax in 2020, but until then, it is a constant push and pull between a growing far left and an older generation of moderate Democrats.”