McConnell to set up vote on Ocasio-Cortez's 'Green New Deal'

The Senate will hold a vote on the Green New Deal, an environmental and energy plan touted by progressives, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellRepublicans give Barr vote of confidence Democrats block two Senate abortion bills VA could lead way for nation on lower drug pricing MORE (R-Ky.) said on Tuesday.

McConnell told reporters after a meeting of the Senate Republican caucus that he has “great interest” in the plan, which would spell an end for coal, a key economic driver in McConnell’s home state of Kentucky, while promising new jobs for out-of-work miners and other workers.

“We’ll give everybody an opportunity to go on record and see how they feel about the Green New Deal,” McConnell said.

McConnell did not say when the vote would happen. McConnell spokesman Don Stewart said the vote has not been scheduled.

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Progressives, led by Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-CortezAlexandria Ocasio-CortezOcasio-Cortez: Trump would 'never' say to her face some of the shots he takes at her on Twitter Ocasio-Cortez suggests a Bloomberg presidency would pave the way for 'a worse Trump' Twitter falling short on pledge to verify primary candidates MORE (D-N.Y.) and Sen. Ed MarkeyEdward (Ed) John MarkeyKennedy, Markey neck-and-neck in Massachusetts primary: poll Overnight Energy: EPA to regulate 'forever chemicals' in drinking water | Trump budget calls for slashing funds for climate science centers | House Dems urge banks not to fund drilling in Arctic refuge Democratic senators criticize plan that could expand Arctic oil and gas development MORE (D-Mass.), introduced the climate change resolution last week.

It strives for net-zero greenhouse gas emissions in the United States and creating millions of "good, high-wage jobs,” among other goals. But it does not prescribe specific steps to reach those goals, and is merely a “sense of the Senate” measure.

The deal has no chance of passing the Senate, where it will need 51 votes and faces united opposition from Republicans, who hold 53 of the chamber’s 100 seats.

But it will force Senate Democrats, including a slew of 2020 presidential candidates, to vote on the proposal — potentially providing votes for McConnell and the GOP to exploit politically.

“It’s astonishing to see this many presidential candidates moving so far to the left on a position that is going to raise energy costs for families, hurt jobs in America and really provide almost a government takeover of many of the industries in our country,” said Sen. John BarrassoJohn Anthony BarrassoWhere do we go from here? Conservation can show the way Senators to meet with Zelensky after impeachment trial GOP senators defend Sondland, Vindman ousters: They weren't 'loyal' MORE (Wyo.), chairman of the Environment and Public Works Committee and a member of GOP leadership.

Barrasso said his main motivation in bringing the deal up for a vote is the presidential election, adding that it’s important, “to get people on record as to how much they really want to take this country in a hard left direction.”

Multiple Democrats who are running or considering running in the 2020 presidential election have backed the plan, including Sens. Cory BookerCory Anthony BookerDemocrats' Obama-to-Sanders shift on charter schooling This week: House to vote on legislation to make lynching a federal hate crime Juan Williams: Black votes matter MORE (N.J.), Elizabeth WarrenElizabeth Ann WarrenWinners and losers from the South Carolina debate Five takeaways from the Democratic debate Sanders most searched, most tweeted about candidate during Democratic debate MORE (Mass.), Amy KlobucharAmy Jean KlobucharWinners and losers from the South Carolina debate Sanders most searched, most tweeted about candidate during Democratic debate Democrats duke it out in most negative debate so far MORE (D-Minn.) and Kirsten GillibrandKirsten GillibrandNow is the time for a US data protection agency The Hill's Campaign Report: Warren up, Bloomberg down after brutal debate Ginsburg, accepting lifetime achievement award, urges working fathers to take an active role in kids' lives MORE (N.Y.).

Republicans have largely lashed out and mocked the proposal.

“If you read the 14 pages of this Green New Deal, it goes way beyond just energy. It’s almost a manifesto of a whole change in what, to me, is democracy in America,” Barrasso said.

Sen. James InhofeJames (Jim) Mountain InhofeLobbying World GOP chairman after Africa trip: US military drawdown would have 'real and lasting negative consequences' Overnight Energy: Controversial Trump adviser reportedly returning to EPA | Delta aims to be first carbon neutral airline | Dem senator gives EPA D-minus on 'forever chemicals' MORE (R-Okla.), chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee and an outspoken climate change skeptic, called the Green New Deal to a political ploy.

“We’re trying to save a country here, and anytime they put a personal ideology into something that is more important than the military and everything else, I think is a waste of time,” he said Tuesday of the GOP’s plan to force a vote.

Democrats immediately knocked Republicans for bringing the bill up for a vote, urging reporters to focus on what plan Republicans have to combat climate change. 

"My reaction is the first question Republicans should answer is what is their answer on climate change? What are they going to put forward," said Senate Minority Leader Charles SchumerCharles (Chuck) Ellis SchumerOvernight Health Care — Presented by American Health Care Association — Lawmakers raise alarms over Trump coronavirus response | Top official warns virus appears inevitable in US | Democrats block two Senate abortion bills Lawmakers raise alarms over Trump coronavirus response Democrats block two Senate abortion bills MORE (D-N.Y.). 

Sen. Brian SchatzBrian Emanuel SchatzKudlow claims coronavirus has been contained: 'It's pretty close to air-tight' Booker, Merkley propose federal facial recognition moratorium Poll: Majority of Democrats say Electoral College delegates should cast ballots based on popular vote MORE (D-Hawaii) said in a tweet that "the R plan for addressing climate change does not exist."

Markey welcomed the debate and the vote.

“Republicans don’t want to debate climate change, they only want to deny it,” he said in a statement.

“They have offered no plan to address this economic and national security threat and want to sabotage any effort that makes Big Oil and corporate polluters pay. The principles of the Green New Deal resonate with the American people — a mission to save all of creation by investing in massive job creation."

—Updated at 4:21 p.m.