Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) came through on his promise to bring freshman Democratic Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez’s (D-N.Y.) controversial Green New Deal up for a vote on the Senate floor, setting the stage for a significant Senate scuffle.
As senators were gearing up to leave Washington for a week-long recess, McConnell scheduled the joint resolution — led by Ocasio-Cortez and Sen. Ed Markey (D-Mass.) — to be brought up for a vote the week of March 25, confirming speculations from Senate Republicans, including former Senate Majority Whip Sen. John Cornyn (R-Texas).
The Senate Majority Leader took shots at the Green New Deal in a floor speech Wednesday, knocking the proposal as “just a good, old-fashioned, state-planned economy” and “garden-variety 20th-century socialism.”
He went on to say:
“By now, we’re all familiar with the major thrust of the proposal: Powering down the U.S. economy, and yet somehow also creating government-directed economic security for everyone at the same time. Naturally, accomplishing all this is quite a tall order.”
McConnell said in February that he had “noted with great interest the Green New Deal” during a press conference and announced that the Senate would vote on the measure so that “everyone” could “go on record” to voice their opinion on the resolution.
Mitch McConnell is forcing a vote on the Green New Deal to get Democrats on record for having supported it ahead of the 2020 elections: "We're going to be voting on that in the Senate. Give everybody an opportunity to go on record and see how they feel about the Green New Deal" pic.twitter.com/7YFflKhdP3
— Ryan Saavedra (@RealSaavedra) February 12, 2019
Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) called the move “a diversion” and “a sham” during a speech last month on the Senate floor.
The Green New Deal would need to get 60 votes in the Senate to pass, which will be hard to accomplish in the Republican-controlled Senate. Republicans have come out in opposition to the measure and Democrats are expected to vote “present” on the proposal, according to Politico.
The vote on the Green New Deal might put some of the Senate’s Democratic 2020 presidential primary candidates in a precarious position, however, as a number of the candidates have voiced their support for the resolution, including Sens. Kamala Harris (D-Calif.) and Cory Booker (D-N.J.). Both Harris and Booker are co-sponsors of the resolution.
McConnell has teed up the Green New Deal as the first legislative vote for the week of March 25, following the vote to confirm Bridget S. Bade’s appointment to the Ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals.