Dem Budget chairman casts doubt on economic feasibility of Green New Deal

Newly minted House Budget Committee Chairman Rep. John YarmuthJohn Allen YarmuthDemocrats at odds with Manchin over child tax credit provision The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Uber - Biden, Democrats dig into legislative specifics Two House Democrats to retire ahead of challenging midterms MORE (D-Ky.) said Friday that the Green New Deal championed by progressives like New York Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-CortezAlexandria Ocasio-CortezRepublican spin on Biden is off the mark House progressives call on Biden to end all new fossil fuel permitting Schumer endorses democratic socialist India Walton in Buffalo mayor's race MORE (D) isn't economically feasible.

Yarmuth told Hill.TV's “Rising” that the committee plans to hold hearings on a number of issues like climate change that could have an impact on the budget, adding that the panel could even include Ocasio-Cortez's plan, which was originally created by activist group The Sunrise Movement.

“The idea of, for instance, making every structure in the United States environmentally feasible is probably something that is totally impossible to do,” Yarmuth told actor Richard Schiff.

“I mean it would be wonderful if you could do that, but nobody could afford that, so I’m not sure what purpose that would serve. But it would probably be worth looking at some of that,” he continued.

Yarmuth's remarks came two days after House Democrats on Wednesday formally proposed creating a new panel on climate change, called “The Select Committee on the Climate Crisis.” 

The panel doesn't include many of the features that progressives called for in its structure, and it hasn’t been explicitly charged with developing Green New Deal legislation. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calf.) told The Hill last month that the committee will instead be in “the spirit of the Green New Deal.”

Ocasio-Cortez last month ripped fellow Democrats for failing to take up climate goals she backed as part of the Green New Deal, which supporters envision as bringing the country to 100 percent renewable electricity and decarbonizing major industries over 10 years.

In December, Ocasio-Cortez blamed House leadership for rejecting her climate agenda because it was “too controversial.”

But the progressive isn’t giving up on her proposal yet.

In an excerpt from a “60 Minutes” interview that’s set to air on Sunday, Ocasio-Cortez suggested that the wealthiest Americans should pay as much as 70 percent in taxes in order to fund a Green New Deal, pointing to a progressive tax rate system from the 1960s.

“You look at our tax rates back in the 60s, and when you have a progressive tax rate system, your tax rate, let’s say, from $0 to $75,000 may be 10% or 15%, etc,” she said. “But once you get to the tippy tops, on your 10-millionth dollar, sometimes you see tax rates as high as 60 percent or 70 percent.”

—Tess Bonn