Senate Democrats introduce 'Green New Deal' alternative

Senate Democrats introduce 'Green New Deal' alternative
© Greg Nash

Senate Democrats introduced a joint resolution Thursday meant to unify the party around a common climate change plan as Republicans seek to rip the party over the "Green New Deal."

The concise nine-line resolution introduced by Sen. Tom CarperThomas (Tom) Richard CarperLawmakers grill manufacturers over 'forever chemicals' contamination EPA ordered to set stronger smog standards America is in desperate need of infrastructure investment: Senate highway bill a step in the right direction MORE (D-Del.), ranking member on the Senate Energy and Public Works Committee, commits Democrats to acknowledging climate change is happening, that it’s human caused and that something must be done.

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“Climate change is real, human activity during the last century is the dominant cause of the climate crisis; and the United States and Congress should take immediate action to address the challenge of climate change,” the resolution reads in its entirety.

All 47 members of the Senate Democratic Caucus signed on to co-sponsor the legislation.

“We have an obligation in the body of the House to do something about it,” said Carper on the Senate floor Thursday.

The resolution is meant as an alternative to the Green New Deal resolution introduced in early February by Sen. Ed MarkeyEdward (Ed) John MarkeyYoung insurgents aren't rushing to Kennedy's side in Markey fight Ocasio-Cortez endorses Markey in Senate race amid speculation over Kennedy candidacy House votes to block drilling in Arctic refuge MORE (D-Mass.). Sen. Majority Leader Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellO'Rourke responds to Buttigieg's gun criticism: 'That calculation and fear is what got us here in the first place' Cicilline on Trump investigations versus legislation: 'We have to do both' The 13 Republicans needed to pass gun-control legislation MORE (R-Ky.) fast-tracked the vote on the resolution two weeks ago in an effort to highlight a Democratic divide over the plan.  

While McConnell recently hinted at a pushed back timeline as far off as August, Democrats had planned to vote “present” on the plan to avoid appearing misaligned on their climate stance.

The latest proposal would circumvent that need.

While the new resolution doesn’t offer any specific plans to decrease emissions and combat climate change, Democratic leaders championed it as a push in the right direction as Republicans failed to back or introduce any climate bills of their own.

“Until they in the majority put a plan on the floor as to what they would do with climate change, they don’t have much standing,” Senate Minority Leader Charles SchumerCharles (Chuck) Ellis SchumerSinema says she would back Kennedy in race against Markey Democrats threaten to withhold defense votes over wall Pelosi: 'People are dying' because McConnell won't bring up gun legislation MORE (D-N.Y.) told Politico Tuesday. He called McConnell’s planned vote on the Green New Deal a “sham.”

Sen. Dianne FeinsteinDianne Emiel FeinsteinTrump court pick sparks frustration for refusing to answer questions This week: Congress returns for first time since mass shootings GOP senators object to White House delaying home-state projects for border wall MORE (D-Calif.) earlier in the week suggested that she too will be introducing her own alternative resolution on climate change. Calling the Green New Deal “too political” and including “too much,” she told The Hill her resolution would be focused more on science.

A draft of her resolution was released mistakenly last week, according to Feinstein. She said the resolution would be introduced in upcoming weeks.