Senate blocks Green New Deal

The Senate on Tuesday blocked the Green New Deal, a progressive climate change resolution that Republicans view as prime fodder heading into the 2020 presidential election.

The Senate voted 0-57 on taking up the resolution, with 43 Democrats voting present. The measure was widely expected to fall short of the 60 votes needed to overcome the procedural hurdle.

Most Democrats were expected to vote present, a move that allowed them to avoid taking a formal position. Sens. Joe ManchinJoseph (Joe) ManchinTrump taps Amy Coney Barrett for Supreme Court, setting up confirmation sprint Sunday shows preview: Lawmakers prepare for SCOTUS confirmation hearings before election Supreme Court fight pushes Senate toward brink MORE (D-W.Va.), Kyrsten Sinema (D-Ariz.), Doug Jones (D-Ala.) and Angus KingAngus KingHopes for DC, Puerto Rico statehood rise Government watchdog recommends creation of White House cyber director position Democrats step up hardball tactics as Supreme Court fight heats up MORE (I-Maine) voted with Republicans against the measure.

Republicans have seized on the measure as an example of Democrats shifting to the left ahead of next year's presidential election. Every Democratic senator running for the party’s nomination in 2020 has co-sponsored the Senate Green New Deal resolution.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellHawley warns Schumer to steer clear of Catholic-based criticisms of Barrett Senate GOP set to vote on Trump's Supreme Court pick before election Harris slams Trump's Supreme Court pick as an attempt to 'destroy the Affordable Care Act' MORE (R-Ky.) lashed out at the proposal ahead of the vote on Tuesday, calling it an item on the “far-left wish list that many of our Democratic colleagues have rushed to embrace.”

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“The American people will see, they will see which of their senators can do the common sense thing and vote no on this destructive socialist daydream. And they will see which senators are so fully committed to radical left-wing ideology that they can’t even vote no on self-inflicted economic ruin,” he said.

The resolution, introduced last month by Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-CortezAlexandria Ocasio-CortezWill Democrats attempt to pack the Supreme Court again? On The Money: Anxious Democrats push for vote on COVID-19 aid | Pelosi, Mnuchin ready to restart talks | Weekly jobless claims increase | Senate treads close to shutdown deadline McCarthy says there will be a peaceful transition if Biden wins MORE (D-N.Y.) and Sen. Ed MarkeyEdward (Ed) John MarkeyA game theorist's advice to President Trump on filling the Supreme Court seat Watchdog confirms State Dept. canceled award for journalist who criticized Trump 3 reasons why Biden is misreading the politics of court packing MORE (D-Mass.), strives for net-zero greenhouse gas emissions in the United States while creating millions of “good, high-wage jobs.” It’s faced pushback from conservatives as well as some Democrats for being too broad and including wish list items not directly related to climate change, like expanding family farming and transitioning away from air travel.

Leading into Tuesday, Democrats accused McConnell of trying to set up a “gotcha” vote since no hearings were held on the fast-tracked legislation, which was widely expected to fail to get the 60 votes needed to ultimately pass the Senate.

Speaking at a rally Tuesday morning, Markey blasted Republicans for putting on a "sham vote."

“They are calling a vote without hearings, without expert testimony, without any true discussion of the costs of climate inaction and the massive potential for clean energy job creation in our country. And that is because Sen. McConnell wants to sabotage the call for climate action,” he said.

Senate Minority Leader Charles SchumerChuck SchumerPelosi: Trump Supreme Court pick 'threatens' Affordable Care Act Will Democrats attempt to pack the Supreme Court again? Pelosi slams Trump executive order on pre-existing conditions: It 'isn't worth the paper it's signed on' MORE (D-N.Y.) added that Republicans were making “a mockery of the legislative process” by bringing the Green New Deal resolution up for a vote just to have the Senate vote it down.

“Republicans want to force this political stunt to distract from the fact that they neither have a plan nor a sense of urgency to deal with the threat of climate change. ... It’s a political act. It’s a political stunt,” he said.

The resolution has divided the Senate Democratic caucus, which ranges from red-state centrists to progressives such as Sens. Elizabeth WarrenElizabeth WarrenOvernight Defense: Appeals court revives House lawsuit against military funding for border wall | Dems push for limits on transferring military gear to police | Lawmakers ask for IG probe into Pentagon's use of COVID-19 funds On The Money: Half of states deplete funds for Trump's 0 unemployment expansion | EU appealing ruling in Apple tax case | House Democrats include more aid for airlines in coronavirus package Warren, Khanna request IG investigation into Pentagon's use of coronavirus funds MORE (D-Mass.) and Bernie SandersBernie SandersTrump, Biden will not shake hands at first debate due to COVID-19 Sanders tells Maher 'there will be a number of plans' to remove Trump if he loses Sirota reacts to report of harassment, doxing by Harris supporters MORE (I-Vt.), who are both running for president.

Sen. Dick DurbinRichard (Dick) Joseph DurbinHawley warns Schumer to steer clear of Catholic-based criticisms of Barrett Two Judiciary Democrats say they will not meet with Trump's Supreme Court pick Sunday shows preview: Lawmakers prepare for SCOTUS confirmation hearings before election MORE (Ill.), the No. 2 Senate Democrat, said the Green New Deal was “aspirational” and he wanted something that was “legislational.”

“I think there are parts of that Green New Deal that are excellent and some that I disagree with. At this point in time I’m going to be voting present … because I believe we should be legislational. I believe we should be bipartisan,” he said.

A dozen Democratic senators co-sponsored Markey’s Green New Deal resolution, including six 2020 White House hopefuls. Those senators followed suit with Markey in voting present on the bill Tuesday.

Prior to the vote, Sen. Chris MurphyChristopher (Chris) Scott MurphyDemocratic senator calls for 'more flexible' medical supply chain to counter pandemics The Hill's 12:30 Report - Presented by Facebook - Don't expect a government check anytime soon GOP chairman to release interim report on Biden probe 'in about a week' MORE (D-Conn.), a co-sponsor, said that he and “almost every, if not every” Democrat would be voting present on the resolution.

Progressive groups signaled ahead of the vote that they were giving senators a pass on the Green New Deal vote and were supportive of senators who planned to vote present.

Ocasio-Cortez also lashed out over the weekend at Republicans, saying they were “wasting votes” and should “stop wasting the American peoples’ time [and] learn to govern.”

Pushing back on Senate Republicans, Democrats attempted to turn the tables by trying to debate their conservative counterparts on their climate views. Many lawmakers goaded GOP members to state what climate legislation they instead supported, if not the Green New Deal.

"[McConnell] and his colleagues want to make a mockery of the national debate that we have started with the Green New Deal, and that’s because they have no plans to fight climate change,” said Markey. “Republicans have no intention of passing legislation to combat climate change.”

All 47 members of the Senate Democratic Conference introduced a short alternative resolution last month stating that human activity is the “dominant cause” of climate change and that Congress should take “immediate” action. Sen. Susan CollinsSusan Margaret CollinsSenate GOP set to vote on Trump's Supreme Court pick before election Democratic senator to party: 'A little message discipline wouldn't kill us' Poll: 57 percent of Americans think next president, Senate should fill Ginsburg vacancy MORE (Maine) — who is up for reelection next year in a state won by Democratic presidential nominee Hillary ClintonHillary Diane Rodham ClintonThe Memo: Trump furor stokes fears of unrest Bloomberg rolls out M ad buy to boost Biden in Florida Hillicon Valley: Productivity, fatigue, cybersecurity emerge as top concerns amid pandemic | Facebook critics launch alternative oversight board | Google to temporarily bar election ads after polls close MORE in 2016 — is the only Republican senator who supported it.

McConnell said Tuesday that he believes that climate change is real and caused by humans, but characterized the Green New Deal resolution as "nonsense." 

"The way to do this consistent with American values and American capitalism is through technology and innovation … not to shut down your economy, throw people out of work," McConnell told reporters. "This is nonsense. And if you're going to sign onto nonsense, you ought to have to vote for nonsense." 

After a year of extreme weather, including historic, deadly fires and hurricanes, as well as reports that 2018 was one of the warmest years on record, Democrats argue they have public opinion on their side.

Two polls released earlier this year found that a majority of Americans believe climate change is happening. More than 70 percent of respondents held that view, according to a University of Chicago and Associated Press poll. Meanwhile, 73 percent told researchers at Yale University and George Mason University that global warming is happening, marking a 10-point shift from March 2015.

But Republicans and the White House doubled down Tuesday on their belief that the Democrats coalescing around the Green New Deal could pay dividends for the president and GOP lawmakers during next year's election. 

Sen. Lindsey GrahamLindsey Olin GrahamHarris slams Trump's Supreme Court pick as an attempt to 'destroy the Affordable Care Act' Sunday shows preview: Lawmakers prepare for SCOTUS confirmation hearings before election Confirmation hearing for Trump's Supreme Court pick to start Oct. 12 MORE (R-S.C.) said Trump brought up the proposal during a closed-door lunch with Senate Republicans and told them to "make sure you don't kill it too much, because I want to run against it." 

As the Senate floor drama unfolded Tuesday, the Democratic-led House remained quiet as to how it plans to address its own Green New Deal resolution.

Speaker Nancy PelosiNancy PelosiPelosi: Trump Supreme Court pick 'threatens' Affordable Care Act Sunday shows preview: Lawmakers prepare for SCOTUS confirmation hearings before election Will Democrats attempt to pack the Supreme Court again? MORE (D-Calif.) has not committed to holding a hearing on the plan, despite calls from House GOP leaders last week to do so. And Ocasio-Cortez nor climate activist supporters of the legislation have called for a similar vote on the legislation in the House.

The House GOP campaign arm pounced on the reality Tuesday, with National Republican Congressional Committee spokesman Michael McAdams saying progressives should “demand” Pelosi bring the Green New Deal up for a vote otherwise “they should quit their political posturing and admit the Green New Deal is nothing but a fantasy right up there with Bigfoot and rainbow unicorns.”