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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 PelosiGOP operative installed as NSA top lawyer placed on administrative leave: reports Budowsky: Democracy won, Trump lost, President Biden inaugurated Biden taps career civil servants to acting posts at State, USAID, UN MORE (D-Calif.) on Thursday welcomed the enthusiasm surrounding the "Green New Deal" climate bill backed by Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-CortezAlexandria Ocasio-CortezBudowsky: Democracy won, Trump lost, President Biden inaugurated Biden faces tall order in uniting polarized nation Facebook has no current plan to end the Trump suspension 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 HarrisKaty Perry and her 'Firework' close out inauguration TV special Biden's first foreign leader call to be with Canada's Trudeau on Friday Harris now 'the most influential woman' in American politics MORE (D-Calif.) and Sen. Elizabeth WarrenElizabeth WarrenBudowsky: Democracy won, Trump lost, President Biden inaugurated Top Senate Democrat backs waiver for Biden Pentagon nominee Consumer bureau director resigns after Biden's inauguration 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.