Pelosi praises enthusiasm behind 'Green New Deal' after seeming to brush it off

Pelosi praises enthusiasm behind 'Green New Deal' after seeming to brush it off
© Stefani Reynolds

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.) on Thursday welcomed the enthusiasm surrounding the "Green New Deal" climate bill backed by Rep. 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.) — a day after she appeared to brush off the legislation as just another suggestion in an interview with Politico

Pelosi at her press conference said she had not yet seen the bill but said she welcomed “the enthusiasm that is there.”

"Quite frankly I haven’t seen it, but I do know that it’s enthusiastic, and we welcome all the enthusiams that are out there," she said. 

Pelosi said public sentiment in favor of addressing climate change — and the green new deal specifically — will help build the case for addressing the issue. 

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“The green new deal points out that the public is much more aware of the challenge that we face, and that is a good thing, because the public sentiment will help us pass the most bold — common-denominator bold — initiatives, with an interest in, again, saving the planet while we create jobs, protect the health of our children and pass the planet on in a very serious way,” said Pelosi, who has long been an advocate for tackling climate change.

In the Wednesday interview with Politico, however, Pelosi was not nearly as effusive in discussing the green new deal, which Ocasio-Cortez officially introduced Thursday.

“It will be one of several or maybe many suggestions that we receive,” Pelosi said of the green new deal in the interview. “The green dream or whatever they call it, nobody knows what it is, but they’re for it right?”

Ocasio-Cortez's office did not immediately respond to a request for comment from The Hill.

Pelosi separately named the eight Democrats who will serve on the new special climate change committee Thursday. 

The panel will include three freshmen, but Ocasio-Cortez is not among them. 

The New York freshman was among the lawmakers disappointed when Pelosi said the new special committee would not have the power to advance legislation or issue subpoenas. Members of other standing committees had opposed giving the new panel those powers. 

Several prominent Democrats running for president, including Sen. Kamala HarrisKamala Devi HarrisSenate Dems introduce bill to prevent Trump from using disaster funds to build wall Klobuchar, O'Rourke visit Wisconsin as 2020 race heats up Sherrod Brown pushes for Medicare buy-in proposal in place of 'Medicare for all' MORE (D-Calif.) and Sen. Elizabeth WarrenElizabeth Ann WarrenSenate Dems introduce bill to prevent Trump from using disaster funds to build wall Klobuchar, O'Rourke visit Wisconsin as 2020 race heats up Sherrod Brown pushes for Medicare buy-in proposal in place of 'Medicare for all' MORE (D-Mass.), have offered support for the green new deal. 

Pelosi on Thursday sought to downplay those divisions, saying the special committee would play "a leading role in taking testimony [and] building current information on solutions on the climate crisis."
 
"But," she quickly added, "it would be a Congresswide initiative."

Mike Lillis contributed to this article.

Updated at 12:41 p.m.