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-CortezOvernight Energy & Environment — Presented by American Clean Power — Democrats prepare to grill oil execs Trick-or-dog-treat: Lawmakers hold annual Halloween puppy party Merkley, Warren and Markey sound alarm over 'dirty' hydrogen provision in climate deal 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 TrumpOvernight Defense & National Security — Presented by Boeing — Milley warns of 'Sputnik moment' for China WSJ publishes letter from Trump continuing to allege voter fraud in PA Oath Keeper who was at Capitol on Jan. 6 runs for New Jersey State Assembly 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.
“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) CrowleyBottom line Progressives eye shift in strategy after high-profile losses Ocasio-Cortez doesn't rule out challenging Schumer 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 PressleyPaid family leave proposal at risk The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Facebook - Biden, Democrats inch closer to legislative deal Six big off-year elections you might be missing 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 PelosiBiden to meet House Dems before Europe trip: report On The Money — Will the billionaire tax survive Joe Manchin? Overnight Energy & Environment — Presented by American Clean Power — Democrats prepare to grill oil execs 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) KhannaDemocrats hope to hold Big Oil 'accountable' State Department issues first US passport with X gender marker As clock ticks down, Manchin is the vote to get on spending plan 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 MarkeyOvernight Energy & Environment — Presented by American Clean Power — Democrats prepare to grill oil execs Merkley, Warren and Markey sound alarm over 'dirty' hydrogen provision in climate deal Overnight Energy & Environment — Presented by American Clean Power — Dems see path to deal on climate provisions 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 WaxmanDemocrats call for oil company executives to testify on disinformation campaign Drug prices are declining amid inflation fears Give Republicans the climate credit they deserve 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.