Democrats say they are calling Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell’s (R-Ky.) bluff to put the hotly debated Green New Deal resolution up for a vote, arguing that it would be “fun” rather than divide the caucus ahead of 2020.
“We’re gonna have more fun than a barrel of monkeys going at them if they raise this issue,” Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse (D-R.I.) told IJR when asked about McConnell’s plan to bring the proposal up for a vote on the Senate floor.
The thinking around Washington is that McConnell’s plan is to force Democrats, especially moderate senators running for office in 2020, to stake their flag via a vote regarding where they stand on the Green New Deal — an ambitious climate change proposal aimed at drastically reducing carbon emissions across the United States by 2030.
“But they got nothing. They’ve had nothing ever since Citizens United was decided and the fossil fuel guys took over their party.”
Progressive Democrats, however, argue that the radical proposals are popular, especially among Millennial voters, and if Republicans want to escalate a fight over the future of the planet, Democrats say that’s one showdown they are ready to have.
“The Republicans have zero credibility on this issue,” Whitehouse said. “It would be one thing if they had a plan of some kind and they wanted to show that our plan wasn’t good enough and we should go to their plan.”
Sen. Brian Schatz (D-Hawaii), who was walking with Whitehouse, chimed in regarding the upcoming vote: “Yeah, I’m not concerned about that at all.”
Whitehouse continued: “But they got nothing. They’ve had nothing ever since Citizens United was decided and the fossil fuel guys took over their party. They have no standing whatsoever, it’s gonna be fun.”
“Amen,” Schatz added with a smile.
Recently declared 2020 presidential candidate Sen. Cory Booker (D-N.J.), a co-sponsor on the Senate Green New Deal resolution, called McConnell putting the proposal on the floor a “show vote.”
“It’s counter to what he has talked about before about not having any show votes,” Booker told IJR. “But what’s the substance of what he’s putting on? I don’t know what it is. I know what I support, clearly, but I don’t know what he’s doing.”
Another co-sponsor in the Senate, Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.), told IJR: “I welcome a vote. I’ll proudly vote for it. And if it passes, it will be hardly a show vote.”
Other Democrats have argued that the Senate majority leader is trying to “sabotage the movement we are building” by forcing a vote on the Green New Deal.
“He wants to silence your voice so Republicans don’t have to explain why they are climate change deniers. McConnell wants this to be the end, this is just the beginning,” Sen. Ed Markey (D-Mass.) tweeted after news broke about the upcoming vote.
And Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.), the freshman lawmaker who introduced the resolution, responded to Republicans saying the Green New Deal will be a liability for Democrats by arguing that the GOP has done nothing to spot climate change “for years.”
We are already feeling the early nightmares of climate crisis, & the GOP is doing nothing to stop it – as they have for years.
I’ve been reading docs all week about how much people knew about climate + when.
They knew early. & Their goal has been to sow doubt this entire time. https://t.co/6YjVuKoevZ
— Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (@AOC) February 13, 2019
But for McConnell, with Democrats already starting to split over the Green New Deal at just the suggestion of a vote, he may have already done his job.
“I’ve noted with great interest the Green New Deal,” the majority leader said during a press conference. “We’re going to be voting on that in the Senate. We’ll give everybody an opportunity to go on record and see how they feel about the Green New Deal.”