Sen. Dick DurbinRichard (Dick) Joseph DurbinTensions rise in Senate's legislative 'graveyard' Senators voice support for Iran protesters but stop short of taking action GOP divided over impeachment trial strategy 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 MarkeySenators grill safety regulator over self-driving cars Hillicon Valley: Twitter shares more details on political ad rules | Supreme Court takes up Google-Oracle fight | Pentagon chief defends Microsoft cloud contract House, Senate announce agreement on anti-robocall bill 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 Health Care: Fireworks on health care expected at Dem debate | Trump FDA pick dodges on vaping ban | Trump to host meeting on youth vaping Friday | AMA calls for immediate vaping ban GOP senator blocks vote on House-passed Violence Against Women Act On The Money: Senate scraps plan to force second shutdown vote | Trump tax breaks for low-income neighborhoods draw scrutiny | McConnell rips House Dems for holding up trade deal 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-CortezSteyer, Biden clash over climate credentials Trump tax breaks for low-income neighborhoods draw scrutiny Sanders doubles down on Bolivia 'coup,' few follow suit 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 SandersFive takeaways from the Democratic debate As Buttigieg rises, Biden is still the target Leading Democrats largely pull punches at debate 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 SchumerTensions rise in Senate's legislative 'graveyard' 2020 Republicans accuse Schumer of snubbing legislation Schumer: Leadership trying to work out competing surprise medical bill measures 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."