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-CortezNew York hates Amazon Tech looks for lessons from Amazon HQ2 fight 'Tax-the-rich' policies are all the rage in the US 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 TrumpMcCabe says he was fired because he 'opened a case against' Trump McCabe: Trump said 'I don't care, I believe Putin' when confronted with US intel on North Korea McCabe: Trump talked to me about his election victory during 'bizarre' job interview 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) CrowleyGOP lawmaker: Amazon would be moving into NY if Ocasio-Cortez wasn't elected Crowley says he 'didn’t underestimate' Ocasio-Cortez in primary challenge Ocasio-Cortez on 2020: ‘I don’t want to be placated as a progressive’ 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 PressleyDemocratic voters more opposed to border deal's provisions than Republicans Ocasio-Cortez, other progressive freshmen to oppose border bill Ocasio-Cortez leads immigration rally outside White House 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 Patricia D'Alesandro PelosiThe national emergency will haunt Republicans come election season On unilateral executive action, Mitch McConnell was right — in 2014 National emergency declaration — a legal fight Trump is likely to win 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 Defense: House votes to end US support for Saudis in Yemen | Vote puts Trump in veto bind | Survey finds hazards in military housing | Senators offer new bill on Russia sanctions House passes bill to end US support for Saudi war in Yemen Congress poised to put Trump in veto bind 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 MarkeyGOP Green New Deal stunt is a great deal for Democrats Green New Deal Resolution invites big picture governing We can have a Green New Deal, and air travel too 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 WaxmanFeehery: Lessons learned from John Dingell Former Rep. John Dingell dies at 92 After Congress, staying in the fight 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.