Sen. Dick DurbinRichard (Dick) Joseph DurbinDemocrats introduce bill to reverse Trump's shift of military money toward wall Overnight Energy: EPA to regulate 'forever chemicals' in drinking water | Trump budget calls for slashing funds for climate science centers | House Dems urge banks not to fund drilling in Arctic refuge Democratic senators criticize plan that could expand Arctic oil and gas development MORE (D-Ill.) on Wednesday declined to say if he will vote for the "Green New Deal" resolution, saying that after he read it he asked a key sponsor of the legislation, "What in the heck is this?" 

"At this point, I would be — I can't tell ya, to be honest with you. I've read it, and I've reread it. And I asked Ed MarkeyEdward (Ed) John MarkeyHillicon Valley — Presented by Facebook — Federal court rules tech giants can censor content | Trump upends surveillance fight | Senate passes bill barring federal funds for Huawei equipment Democrats hit Facebook over gun sales on platform Kennedy, Markey neck-and-neck in Massachusetts primary: poll MORE what in the — what in the heck is this? He says it is an aspiration, you know, it's a resolution aspiration," Durbin said on MSNBC's "Morning Joe," referring to the Democratic senator from Massachusetts.

 

 

Majority Leader Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellOvernight Energy: Murkowski, Manchin unveil major energy bill | Lawmakers grill EPA chief over push to slash agency's budget | GOP lawmaker accuses Trump officials of 'playing politics' over Yucca Mountain Lawmakers race to pass emergency coronavirus funding Trump upends controversial surveillance fight MORE (R-Ky.) is expected to force a vote on the resolution, which Republicans believe will provide fodder for 2020 elections by forcing a handful of Democratic presidential hopefuls to go on the record for or against the measure.

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The resolution, unveiled earlier this month by Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-CortezAlexandria Ocasio-CortezOcasio-Cortez cuts census ad with Lin-Manuel Miranda Bill banning menthol in cigarettes divides Democrats, with some seeing racial bias Industry group warns fracking ban could cost 7.5M jobs in US MORE (D-N.Y.) and Markey, is nonbinding but backs net-zero greenhouse gas emissions in the United States while saying it would create millions of “good, high-wage jobs."

Eleven Democrats, including Markey, and Sen. Bernie SandersBernie SandersBloomberg: 'I'm going to stay right to the bitter end' of Democratic primary race The Memo: Biden seeks revival in South Carolina Sanders makes the case against Biden ahead of SC primary MORE (I-Vt.) have formally signed on to the resolution.

Though the resolution has been championed by progressives and a coalition of outside groups, several Senate Democrats are keeping the measure at arm's length and have declined to say if they would vote for it in its current form.

Durbin sidestepped a question on Wednesday about what he thought about the resolution, quipping that it is "long," but that he agrees "with the premise; global warming is a threat to the planet."

Top Democrats, including Senate Minority Leader Charles SchumerCharles (Chuck) Ellis Schumer Sanders blasts Trump for picking 'completely unqualified' Pence for coronavirus response Trump passes Pence a dangerous buck Democratic mega-donor reaching out to Pelosi, Schumer in bid to stop Sanders: report MORE (D-N.Y.), have brushed off the GOP tactics and signaled they want to turn the tables on Republicans by trying to shift the spotlight to the GOP record on combatting global warming.

"What we're going to do is ask the Republican leader — what's your position on global warming, while we're at it? Shouldn't you come out on the record and tell us whether you believe that human activity is having an impact on our environment?" Durbin added Wednesday. "Let's get on the record on both sides."

The resolution won't pass in the Senate, where it would need 60 votes and no Republicans will support it. But, Schumer said late last week that if the Senate was able to bring the resolution to the floor, Democrats wanted to be able to offer and get votes on potential changes to the measure.

"We Democrats demand our own amendment votes," Schumer said. "Let's see if anything has changed since 2015 when only five brave Republicans were able to vote yes on a resolution saying climate change is real and caused by humans."