Rising: February 25, 2020
Union leader says Green New Deal would make infrastructure bill ‘absolutely impossible’
The president of one of the largest construction unions in the country warned the Green New Deal will make it "absolutely impossible" for lawmakers to pass an infrastructure bill.
"The things that are in the Green New Deal should be dealt with [by the] Climate Change Committee and not tied to infrastructure," Terry O'Sullivan, General President of the Laborers' International Union of North America (LIUNA), told Hill.TV's Buck Sexton and Jamal Simmons.
"It has been almost impossible to figure out how we're going to fund infrastructure and with the Green New Deal, we feel it's going to be absolutely impossible to ever get an infrastructure bill," O'Sullivan continued.
Senate Democrats could face a vote as early as next week on the Green New Deal. The plan aims to get the U.S. running on 100 percent renewable energy by 2030 with the hope of creating thousands of jobs, and contains proposals to deal with infrastructure.
While O'Sullivan says he supports carbon-free energy initiatives, he argues that the plan includes proposals that have nothing to do fixing America's crumbling roads and bridges.
"All of them are worthy proposals to look at but why are we messing up infrastructure when our infrastructure in this country is crumbling," he said, noting that the American Society for Civil Engineers gave the U.S.' infrastructure a D+ rating in its latest report card.
Founded in 1903, LIUNA represents roughly 500,000 construction workers - 80,000 of whom are based in Canada. O'Sullivan estimates that less than half its members identify as Republican, but said that number varies from state-to-state.
This is not the first time O'Sullivan has spoken out against the Green New Deal. The LIUNA president issued a statement on Feb. 7 about the plan, saying that the resolution shows "how not to successfully enact desperately needed infrastructure investment."
O'Sullivan emphasized that the infrastructure bill would have a considerable impact on its members and should be more focused on putting people to work.
"It should be about jobs - I mean an infrastructure bill could be the biggest job creator of any legislation that we've ever seen or we've ever passed," he said.
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) announced last Tuesday that the Republican-controlled chamber would vote on the far-reaching plan to fight climate change.
But the proposal, which has long been championed by Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.), faces a tough battle ahead.
Though some Democratic 2020 hopefuls like Sen. Corey Booker (D-N.J.) and Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) have signaled that that they would support resolution, it's not entirely clear how many Democrats will support the Green New Deal.
Updated at 3:06 p.m.