News & Politics

Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez Joins Climate Change Protest Outside Pelosi's Office

Rep.-elect Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, D-NY., arrives for orientation for new members of Congress, Tuesday, Nov. 13, 2018, in Washington. (AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais)

Newly elected New York Democratic Socialist Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez paid her first visit to the office of House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) Tuesday morning — as part of a protest demanding legislative action on climate change.

The incoming congresswoman was greeted with cheers  and high-fives as she joined the 200 or so climate activists demanding a “Green New Deal.”

Ocasio-Cortez, who easily won the election in New York’s deep blue 14th district, praised the protesters for putting everything on the line to save the planet.

“I just want to let you all know how proud I am of each and every single one of you. For putting yourselves and your bodies and everything on the line to make sure we save our planet, our generation, and our future,” Ocasio-Cortez said. “We do not have a choice. We have to get to 100 percent renewable energy in 10 years. There is no other option. The IPCC let us know that.”

“Should Leader Pelosi become the next speaker of the House, we need to tell her that we’ve got her back on showing and pursuing the most progressive energy agenda that this country has ever seen,”  Ocasio-Cortez also told the protesters.

Ocasio-Cortez explained in a tweet that the protesters had invited her to join them, and said she had spoken with Pelosi “about how our commitments to climate change should take shape in the 116th Congress.”

“[Pelosi’s] office has responded quickly, and she has recommended the reinstatement of the Select Committee on Climate Change,” she tweeted.

According to the Washington Free Beacon, the protest included members from Justice Democrats and the environmental group Sunrise.

Justice Democrats communications director Waleed Shahid said in a statement that Democratic leadership “must get serious about the climate and our economy.”

“Anything less is tantamount to denying the reality of climate change,” Shahid said. “The hopeful part is that we’re ushering in a new generation of leaders into the Democratic Party who understand the urgency and will help build a movement to create the political will for bold action.”

Ocasio-Cortez made climate change one of the cornerstones of her campaigning, ripping the Trump administration as cowardly for not addressing the issue. She compared it to the existential threat of Nazi Germany and called for the government to mobilize all its forces to achieve 100 percent renewable energy.

Pelosi had already told the New York Times last week that she will push for a special House committee on climate change:

Ms. Pelosi said that she would urge her caucus to revive a select committee focused on climate change, similar to the one that Democrats financed from 2007 to early 2011, to “prepare the way with evidence” for energy conservation and other climate change mitigation legislation. Republicans defunded the panel when they took the majority, but Ms. Pelosi said it was clearly still needed to educate the public about the impact of more frequent extreme weather events.

According to The Guardian, another progressive website, the protest of Pelosi was to bash the committee Democrats initially financed as “toothless,” saying it “resulted in weak cap-and-trade legislation passing the House in 2009 before failing in the Democratic-controlled Senate.”

Reinstating the select committee will help stave off a “cataclysmic climate disaster,” Ocasio-Cortez tweeted.

Some of the protesters were arrested after refusing to leave the hallway outside Pelosi’s office, Politico reported.

Capitol Police began arresting protesters when they refused to disperse after a few hours outside Pelosi’s office in the Cannon House Office Building. Organizers said about 50 protesters were arrested. Pelosi said she welcomed the protest and called on the police “to allow them to continue to organize and participate in our democracy.”

Pelosi, who is poised to become the next speaker of the House, tweeted that she strongly supports “reinstating the select committee to address the crisis.”