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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 PelosiPelosi: Trump should accept election results 'like a man' The spectre of pension failures haunts this election Microsoft: Iranian hacking group targeting attendees of major international security conferences MORE (D-Calif.) on Thursday welcomed the enthusiasm surrounding the "Green New Deal" climate bill backed by Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-CortezAlexandria Ocasio-CortezOVERNIGHT ENERGY: Trump strips protections for Tongass forest, opening it to logging | Interior 'propaganda' video and tweets may violate ethics laws, experts say | Democrats see Green New Deal yielding gains despite GOP attacks Ocasio-Cortez says she doesn't plan on 'staying in the House forever' Ocasio-Cortez: 'Trump is the racist visionary, but McConnell gets the job done' 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 HarrisTrump fights for battleground Arizona Biden to air 90-minute radio programs targeting Black voters The Hill's Campaign Report: Biden's big battleground | Trump and Harris hit the trail in Arizona | Turnout surges among new voters MORE (D-Calif.) and Sen. Elizabeth WarrenElizabeth WarrenWhat a Biden administration should look like Overnight Defense: Dems want hearing on DOD role on coronavirus vaccine | US and India sign data-sharing pact | American citizen kidnapped in Niger Conservative operatives Wohl, Burkman charged in Ohio over false robocalls 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.