McConnell plans vote on Green New Deal before August recess

McConnell plans vote on Green New Deal before August recess
© Greg Nash

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellOvernight Energy: California, 23 other states sue Trump over vehicle emissions rule | Climate strike protests hit cities across globe | Interior watchdog expands scope of FOIA investigation | Dems accuse officials of burying climate reports Hillicon Valley: Lawmakers say Zuckerberg to 'cooperate' on antitrust probes | Dems see victory after McConnell backs election security funds | Twitter takes down fake pro-Saudi accounts Liberal super PAC launches browser extension replacing 'Mitch McConnell' with 'Moscow Mitch' MORE (R-Ky.) said Tuesday that he will force a vote on the progressive Green New Deal sometime before the August recess, arguing he thinks Democrats are trying to dodge the fight. 

McConnell said he had read with "some amusement" that some Democrats were discussing voting "present" on the anti-climate change plan, a move that would allow them to avoid taking a stance on the liberal resolution. 

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"The only thing I would ask is if this is such a popular thing to do and so necessary, why would one to dodge the vote. This is an opportunity to go on record. …. It's a debate we'll have in all likelihood sometime before the August break," McConnell said. 

The Senate is scheduled to go on recess Aug. 5.

McConnell first announced earlier this month that he would force a vote on the resolution, introduced by Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-CortezAlexandria Ocasio-CortezMarkey fundraises ahead of Kennedy primary challenge The Hill's Campaign Report: De Blasio drops out | Warren gains support from black voters | Sanders retools campaign team | Warning signs for Tillis in NC Progressives push for changes to Pelosi drug pricing plan MORE (D-N.Y.) and Sen. Ed MarkeyEdward (Ed) John MarkeyMarkey fundraises ahead of Kennedy primary challenge The Hill's Campaign Report: De Blasio drops out | Warren gains support from black voters | Sanders retools campaign team | Warning signs for Tillis in NC Sanders defends job losses from ending use of fossil fuels MORE (D-Mass.). Republicans have seized on the Green New Deal as a wedge issue as they hunt for fodder for the 2020 election. 

Sen. John ThuneJohn Randolph ThuneThe Hill's Morning Report - Pompeo condemns Iran for 'act of war' while Trump moves with caution Hillicon Valley: Zuckerberg to meet with lawmakers | Big tech defends efforts against online extremism | Trump attends secretive Silicon Valley fundraiser | Omar urges Twitter to take action against Trump tweet NRA says Trump administration memo a 'non-starter' MORE (S.D.), the No. 2 Senate Republican, pointed to the it as one example of how Democrats have shifted to the left. 

Sen. John BarrassoJohn Anthony BarrassoTo stave off a recession, let's pass a transportation infrastructure bill Overnight Defense: GOP wary of action on Iran | Pence says US 'locked and loaded' to defend allies | Iran's leader rules out talks with US GOP senator: Iran is behind attack on Saudi Arabia MORE (Wyo.), a member of GOP leadership, argued that the proposal "drives a stake into the heart" of the U.S. economy and would result in a "gift" to Russian President Vladimir Putin. 

"The solution to climate change is not government regulation, it's innovation, and that's the way we ought to be heading," Barrasso added. 

The Green New Deal, which strives for net-zero greenhouse gas emissions in the United States while creating millions of “good, high-wage jobs,” has zero chance of passing in the Senate, where it needs 60 votes to advance.

But it would force Democratic 2020 hopefuls to go on the record, which Republicans believe could pay dividends during the election. 

Though it's been seized on by Republicans, it has split Democrats, with several moderates and even members of Senate Democratic leadership cool to saying they would support the Green New Deal. 

Some have floated voting "present," which wouldn't put them on the record as voting for or against the idea. Sen. Chris MurphyChristopher (Chris) Scott MurphyDemocrats hit Scalia over LGBTQ rights GOP signals unease with Barr's gun plan Trump administration floats background check proposal to Senate GOP MORE (D-Conn.) told E&E News that voting "present" could be used to try to discourage McConnell from future "political theater."

Democrats have tried to turn the tables by questioning what Republicans have done to combat climate change since taking over control of the Senate in 2015. 

Senate Minority Leader Charles SchumerCharles (Chuck) Ellis SchumerSchumer, Pelosi push Trump to back universal background check bill Sinema says she would back Kennedy in race against Markey Democrats threaten to withhold defense votes over wall MORE (D-N.Y.) blasted Republicans and the Trump administration from the floor earlier Tuesday. 

"It is long past time for President TrumpDonald John TrumpJulián Castro: It's time for House Democrats to 'do something' about Trump Warren: Congress is 'complicit' with Trump 'by failing to act' Sanders to join teachers, auto workers striking in Midwest MORE and Republican leaders to admit that climate change is real, human activity contributes to it, and Congress must take action to counter it. So far, Leader McConnell and Republicans: when we ask them do you believe climate change is real? Silence. Do you believe humans cause it? Silence," Schumer said.