Democrats launch 10-year 'Green New Deal' for clean energy

Sunrise Movement. Shutterstock

Sunrise Movement. Shutterstock

The Republican Study Committee pointed out the dichotomy Thursday, shortly after the New York Democrat launched her sweeping environmental plan aimed at achieving zero-net greenhouse-gas emissions in 10 years.

When asked why she turned down an offer to be part of a committee that will tackle an issue so important to the freshman lawmaker, Ocasio-Cortez's reasoning was that it's an "investigatory body". She also cites Franklin D. Roosevelt's New Deal, Lyndon B. Johnson's Great Society and the interstate highway system begun under Dwight D. Eisenhower as examples of American know-how and capability.

The Green New Deal would be paid for 'the same way we paid for the original New Deal, World War II, the bank bailouts, tax cuts for the rich and decades of war - with public money appropriated by Congress, ' Ocasio-Cortez said.

While the resolution does not get into detailed policy proposals, possibly fueling Pelosi's skepticism about what the nuts and bolts of the plan actually are, it does lay out the aims of the plan. That includes the ability to subpoena witnesses and advance legislation.

Pelosi told reporters Thursday "there's lots of excitement" over the select committee but noted that any legislative effort "would be a Congress-wide initiative". But the freshman congresswoman from NY introduced a Green New Deal resolution on Thursday that is already emerging as a key policy test for 2020 Democratic candidates. She said she also wants to hear from the new climate committee, which she said will "spearhead Democrats" work' on climate issues.

"We. need to be sure that workers now employed in fossil fuel industries have higher-wage and better jobs available to them to be able to make this transition, and a federal jobs guarantee ensures that no worker is left behind", according to a summary of the plan.

"This is such a major watershed moment and I am so incredibly excited that we are going to transition this country into the future and we are not going to be dragged behind by our past. The objective, though, of this select committee and the tasking that I have given to the committees of jurisdiction-I didn't even have to task them, they have their own enthusiasm-that we would have an evidence-based, well-defined approach to how we go forward to make a difference".

"It will be one of several or maybe many suggestions that we receive", she said.

Ocasio-Cortez said she was not offended that Pelosi called the resolution "the green dream".

On Wednesday, Pelosi dismissed the Green New Deal as a "suggestion" to Politico, a position that many progressives were previously wary about.

"Not only will we not agree to fund [ICE], but we are here to say that an agency like ICE, which repeatedly and systematically violates human rights, does not deserve a dime", she continued.

"Quite frankly I haven't seen it but I do know it's enthusiastic, and I welcome all the enthusiasm out there", the California Democrat said.