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-CortezThe Memo: Bloomberg's 2020 moves draw ire from Democrats Sanders: Potential Bloomberg run shows 'arrogance of billionaires' Sanders, Ocasio-Cortez see 'class solidarity' in report Bezos asked Bloomberg to run 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 John TrumpThis week: House kicks off public phase of impeachment inquiry Impeachment week: Trump probe hits crucial point Judd Gregg: The big, big and bigger problem 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) CrowleyThe Democrats' generational battle Ocasio-Cortez apologizes for blocking ex-politician on Twitter, settles lawsuit Ocasio-Cortez on public life: 'Sometimes I just want to be a human being' 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 PressleyJustice Democrats official denies that progressives struggle with electability The Hill's Campaign Report: Bloomberg looks to upend Democratic race Progressive freshmen jump into leadership PAC fundraising 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 PelosiImpeachment week: Trump probe hits crucial point Klobuchar: 'I have seen no reason why' Hunter Biden would need to testify Johnson dismisses testimony from White House officials contradicting Trump as 'just their impression' 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 Health Care: CDC links vitamin E oil to vaping illnesses | White House calls Pelosi drug price plan 'unworkable' | Dem offers bill for state-based 'Medicare for All' Justice Democrats official denies that progressives struggle with electability Progressive House Democrat unveils bill to allow state-based 'Medicare for All' 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 MarkeyEdward (Ed) John MarkeyDemocrats unifying against Joe Kennedy Senate bid States, green groups challenge rollback of Obama-era lightbulb rules Overnight Energy: Dems ask Trump UN ambassador to recuse from Paris climate dealings | Green group sues agencies for records on climate science | Dem wants answers on Keystone oil spill 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 WaxmanLawmakers come together to honor Cummings: 'One of the greats in our country's history' Lessons from Congress' last big battle on climate Current, former lawmakers celebrate release of new book on Jack Brooks, 'The Meanest Man in Congress' 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.