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 PelosiTrump praises 'domination' of DC protesters Pelosi, Schumer say treatment of protesters outside White House 'dishonors every value that faith teaches us' Democrats call for Congress to take action following death of George Floyd MORE (D-Calif.) on Thursday welcomed the enthusiasm surrounding the "Green New Deal" climate bill backed by Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-CortezAlexandria Ocasio-CortezNew York City issues Monday night curfew amid protests Engel primary challenger drops out, endorses fellow challenger Trump says he will designate antifa a terrorist organization 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 HarrisHarris: Trump 'just tear-gassed peaceful protesters for a photo op' Harris, Jeffries question why Manafort, Cohen released while others remain in prison George Floyd's death ramps up the pressure on Biden for a black VP MORE (D-Calif.) and Sen. Elizabeth WarrenElizabeth WarrenGeorge Floyd's death ramps up the pressure on Biden for a black VP Judd Gregg: Biden — a path to the presidency, or not Vogue's Anna Wintour urges Biden to pick woman of color for VP 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.