Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellBiden says he's open to altering, eliminating filibuster to advance voting rights Pelosi says GOP senators 'voted to aid and abet' voter suppression for blocking revised elections bill Manchin insists he hasn't threatened to leave Democrats MORE (R-Ky.) said Tuesday he believes in human-caused climate change but that the progressive Green New Deal wasn't the way to tackle the problem.
"I do. The question is how do you address it. … 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 ahead of a vote on the Green New Deal.
The Senate is scheduled to take a procedural vote on the progressive plan later Tuesday. The measure is expected to fall short of the 60 votes needed to overcome the hurdle, with Republicans planning to vote against it and most Democrats expected to vote "present."
Republicans have seized on the Green New Deal as a sign that Democrats are moving further to the left ahead of the 2020 presidential election, noting that every Democratic senator running for the White House has co-sponsored the resolution.
McConnell added on Tuesday that he believes the Green New Deal proposal is "nonsense" and that a vote of "present" on the resolution by Democrats should be viewed as a vote in support of the resolution.
"This is nonsense. And if you're going to sign on to nonsense, you ought to have to vote for nonsense," McConnell said. "If there are any Democrats who want to come out against the Green New Deal, they'll have an opportunity to do that today."
Democrats, meanwhile, jumped on McConnell's comment that he believes in human-caused climate change. Senate Minority Leader Charles SchumerChuck SchumerManchin meeting with Biden, Schumer in Delaware Progressives' optimism for large reforms dwindles Democratic frustration with Sinema rises MORE (D-N.Y.) said the GOP leader's remarks showed "real progress."
"Their sham vote is backfiring. … We Democrats are on offense," Schumer said. "We're feeling really good about where we're moving."
Democrats have proposed a resolution to create a Senate panel focused on climate change, similar to the committee started by House Democrats earlier this year.
Schumer added that Democrats are asking McConnell to go agree to take a vote to form the select committee.
"Climate change is serious, and it's worthy of bipartisan investigation and action," he said. "Why not create this committee?"