Dems rally for Green New Deal

A group of House Democrats and some of their incoming colleagues rallied outside the Capitol Friday, calling on Congress to back their ambitious Green New Deal agenda to fight climate change.

About 10 Democrats joined youth and green activists to push for the House to pass a resolution by Rep.-elect Alexandria Ocasio-CortezAlexandria Ocasio-CortezWomen's March endorses Nina Turner in first-ever electoral endorsement Grassley pressured to run as Democrats set sights on Iowa JD Vance takes aim at culture wars, childless politicians MORE (D-N.Y.) that would create a new select committee charged with writing a plan that would transition the country to 100 percent renewable energy for electricity and guarantee jobs for unemployed people, among other tasks.

Backers of the plan said that while such legislation is unlikely to pass with President TrumpDonald TrumpRealClearPolitics reporter says Freedom Caucus shows how much GOP changed under Trump Jake Ellzey defeats Trump-backed candidate in Texas House runoff DOJ declines to back Mo Brooks's defense against Swalwell's Capitol riot lawsuit MORE in the White House and Republicans controlling the Senate, a special committee would get Democrats ready to vote on a bill if they win the White House and Senate in 2020.

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“We need a New Deal. We are in a dark abyss in this nation, with our resident of the White House right now, not only with his holding over the Senate chamber,” said Ocasio-Cortez, who became a national progressive star earlier this year when she unseated longtime Rep. Joe CrowleyJoseph (Joe) CrowleyCynthia Nixon backs primary challenger to Rep. Carolyn Maloney The Hill's Morning Report - McConnell pressures Dem leaders to follow Biden's infrastructure lead The Memo: The center strikes back MORE (D-N.Y.) in a primary.

“This is about the fact that if we continue to allow power to concentrate with corporations to dictate the quality of our air, to dictate the fact and tell us that we can continue burning fossil fuels, to dupe us, people will die and people are dying,” she continued.

“We are here to set the crooked path straight,” she said. “We are going to get this done. But we cannot let up. We need to fight like hell. Because our issues in this country are not left and right, they are top and bottom.”

Fellow Rep.-elect Ayanna PressleyAyanna PressleyOn The Money: Schumer, Warren call on Biden to extend student loan pause | IMF estimates 6 percent global growth this year Schumer, Warren call on Biden to extend student loan pause and wipe out K per borrower Omar reflects on personal experiences with hate in making case for new envoy MORE (D-Mass.) echoed the call for the Green New Deal.

“The push for a Green New Deal is about more than just natural resources and jobs. It’s about our most precious commodity: people, families, children, our future,” said Pressley, who also unseated a senior Democrat in a primary this year.

“It’s about moving to 100 percent renewable energy and the elimination of greenhouse gases. It’s about ensuring that our coastal communities have the resources and tools to build sustainable infrastructure that will counteract rising sea levels, beat back untenable natural disasters and mitigate the effects of extreme temperature.”

The idea of a select committee has the backing of leading Democrats, including expected Speaker Nancy PelosiNancy PelosiHouse to resume mask mandate after new CDC guidance McCarthy pulls GOP picks off House economic panel GOP up in arms over Cheney, Kinzinger MORE (D-Calif.)

But it faces opposition from some other House Democrats in line to lead major committees, like Energy and Commerce’s Rep. Frank Pallone (D-N.J.) and Transportation and Infrastructure’s Pete DeFazio (D-Ore.), who think their panels are suited to handle the task of major climate legislation themselves.

Rep. Ro KhannaRohit (Ro) KhannaOvernight Energy: Democrats request interview with Exxon lobbyist after undercover tapes | Biden EPA to reconsider Trump rollback on power plant pollution in 2022 | How climate change and human beings influence wildfires Democrats request interview with Exxon lobbyist after undercover tapes Progressive fighting turns personal on internal call over antitrust bills MORE (D-Calif.) said the select committee idea is “a very commonsense idea.”

He looked back to the previous Select Committee on Energy Independence and Global Warming, led between 2007 and 2011 by then-Rep. Ed MarkeyEd MarkeyNearly 140 Democrats urge EPA to 'promptly' allow California to set its own vehicle pollution standards Senate Democrats press administration on human rights abuses in Philippines Equilibrium/ Sustainability — Presented by NextEra Energy — Olympics medals made of mashed up smartphones MORE (D-Mass.).

“The committee worked with the Energy and Commerce Committee, and out of that collaboration came the Waxman-Markey bill,” he said, referring to the 2009 cap-and-trade bill Markey and then-Rep. Henry WaxmanHenry Arnold WaxmanDrug prices are declining amid inflation fears Give Republicans the climate credit they deserve The Hill's Top Lobbyists 2020 MORE (D-Calif.) wrote, which passed the House but went nowhere in the Senate.

“Creating a new select committee will lead to good legislation. We know this based on historical precedent of Waxman-Markey.”

At least 16 current or incoming House Democrats currently support the Green New Deal resolution, according to tracking by the Sunrise Movement.