Inslee hits O'Rourke: 'He did not lead on climate change in Congress'

Inslee hits O'Rourke: 'He did not lead on climate change in Congress'
© Greg Nash

Washington Gov. Jay InsleeJay Robert InsleeMillions of Americans frustrated by delayed unemployment checks Trump rule limits states from blocking pipeline projects Inslee says Trump coronavirus response akin to if FDR called Pearl Harbor 'a hoax' MORE criticized his fellow Democratic presidential candidate, former Texas Rep. Beto O’Rourke, on Monday, saying O’Rourke “did not lead” on climate change as a member of Congress.

"Climate change will be the top issue in this primary, and it's good news that Democratic candidates are putting forward ideas on the issue,” said Inslee, who has made climate change the central issue of his campaign. “But, voters have a right to look closely at Democratic candidates' plans to separate rhetoric from results on climate change.”

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Inslee released the statement in response to a $5 trillion climate change plan O’Rourke issued Monday, in which he called for efforts to cut greenhouse gas emissions to net zero by 2050, as well as updates to infrastructure and investments in climate sustainability in local communities.

The plan, the Inslee campaign wrote, contains several policy initiatives Inslee undertook as governor, including expansion of zero-emission vehicles, hydrofluorocarbon restrictions and accelerated clean energy deployment.

"Beto O'RourkeBeto O'RourkeBiden will help close out Texas Democrats' virtual convention: report O'Rourke on Texas reopening: 'Dangerous, dumb and weak' Parties gear up for battle over Texas state House MORE will need to answer why he did not lead on climate change in Congress and why he voted on the side of oil companies to open up offshore drilling,” the Inslee campaign wrote. “We look forward to a climate debate — where voters will have the opportunity to hear about which candidates have a strong, extensive record of fighting climate change and which candidates have a record of siding with fossil fuel companies."

O’Rourke has declined to sign a pledge refusing donations from oil companies, and has taken heat over his 2015 vote to lift the ban on exporting oil.