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Durbin after reading Green New Deal: 'What in the heck is this?'

Sen. Dick Durbin (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 Markey 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 McConnell (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.

The resolution, unveiled earlier this month by Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (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 Sanders (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 Schumer (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." 

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