Schumer Counters McConnell's 'Cynical Show Vote' on Green New Deal with Resolution

Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) on Capitol Hill on Feb. 26, 2019. (Chris Kleponis/picture-alliance/dpa/AP Images)

WASHINGTON — Panning Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell’s (R-Ky.) promised vote on Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez’s (D-N.Y.) Green New Deal as a “cynical show vote,” Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) today unveiled a resolution from a unified Dem Senate caucus urging a climate-change offensive.

On the Senate floor today, McConnell acknowledged dissent among Democrats over whether a Green New Deal is the right way to go, but added that “it looks like, one way or another, the Democratic Party as a whole is eager to get behind this thing.”

A companion bill to the House version was introduced in the upper chamber by Sen. Ed Markey (D-Mass.) and 11 co-sponsors. The Senate resolution says that the federal government should create a Green New Deal “to achieve net-zero greenhouse gas emissions through a fair and just transition for all communities and workers” and calls in part for “meeting 100 percent of the power demand in the United States through clean, renewable, and zero-emission energy sources.”

McConnell panned specific parts of the bill on upgrading all existing buildings in the United States and building new buildings to be green compliant, meeting 100 percent of the power demand in the United States without fossil fuels, and building out high-speed rail at a scale where air travel stops becoming necessary.

“Recently, I announced that senators will get to go on the record and vote for or against all of this. But curiously enough, this planned vote was met with outrage from the very people claiming to champion the proposal. Last night our colleague from Rhode Island said it was ‘truly preposterous’ for me to schedule a vote on the Green New Deal. That’s not exactly a ringing endorsement of a plan Democrats claim to support,” McConnell said.

“…So before much longer, every member of this body will have a chance to go on the record, loud and clear. Do our Democratic colleagues really support this fantasy novel masquerading as public policy? Do they really want to completely upend Americans’ lives to enact some grand socialist vision? Do they really want this to be their Democratic Party? Well, before too long, the Senate will vote, and these questions will be answered.”

Schumer announced a resolution sponsored by all 47 senators who caucus with Dems and sent a Dear Colleague letter to all 53 Republican senators, asking for their support.

The very short resolution simply states that “climate change is real,” “human activity during the last century is the dominant cause of the climate crisis,” and “the United States and Congress should take immediate action to address the challenge of climate change.”

The letter cites findings in the most recent government climate assessment, including a direct link between climate change and extreme weather events, a prediction that there will be six times more area scorched by wildfires by 2050, an expected reduction in corn and soybean yields by up to 25 percent by the end of the century, and a potential 10 percent loss of gross domestic product by the end of the century.

“Climate change is the most significant crisis facing humanity and Democrats are prepared to take bold action to address it but Republicans are standing in the way,” Schumer said. “We are demanding that Leader McConnell and Republicans in the Senate take their heads out of the sand and answer three questions: do they believe climate change is real, is it caused by humans and do they believe the Congress and United States need to take immediate action to address it?”

“This resolution is simply going to be just one of many examples of Democrats on offense and united on the seriousness of and the need to take urgent action on climate change while Republicans are focused on cynical show votes,” he added.