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-CortezOvernight Health Care: Global coronavirus cases top 1M | Cities across country in danger of becoming new hotspots | Trump to recommend certain Americans wear masks | Record 6.6M file jobless claims Trump blasts Schumer over 'incorrect sound bites' on coronavirus Trump warns against 'partisan investigations' after Pelosi establishes select committee on virus response 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 TrumpTrump fires intelligence community inspector general who flagged Ukraine whistleblower complaint Trump organization has laid off over 1000 employees due to pandemic: report Trump invokes Defense Production Act to prevent export of surgical masks, gloves 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) CrowleyStimulus price tag of .2T falls way short, some experts say Ocasio-Cortez set to make her first appearance on Fox News Progressive organizations throw support to Sanders ahead of Michigan primary 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 PressleyMaryland Legislative Black Caucus pushes for state to release racial breakdown of coronavirus impact Pressley experiencing flu-like symptoms, being tested for COVID-19 The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Airbnb - Senate overcomes hurdles, passes massive coronavirus bill 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 PelosiTrump says he opposes mail-in voting for November On The Money: Economy sheds 701K jobs in March | Why unemployment checks could take weeks | Confusion surrounds 9B in small-business loans The bipartisan neutering of the Congressional Budget Office 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 eye additional relief checks for coronavirus Defense Production Act urgently needed for critical medical gear 20 House Dems call on Trump to issue two-week, nationwide shelter-in-place order 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 MarkeyOvernight Health Care: CDC recommends face coverings in public | Resistance to social distancing sparks new worries | Controversy over change of national stockpile definition | McConnell signals fourth coronavirus bill Democratic senators want probe into change of national stockpile description Overnight Energy: Oil giants meet with Trump at White House | Interior extends tenure of controversial land management chief | Oil prices tick up on hopes of Russia-Saudi deal 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 WaxmanThe Hill's Top Lobbyists 2019 Lawmakers come together to honor Cummings: 'One of the greats in our country's history' Lessons from Congress' last big battle on climate 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.