House GOP lawmaker says Green New Deal is like genocide

House GOP lawmaker says Green New Deal is like genocide
© Greg Nash

House Republican leaders Thursday called on Speaker Nancy PelosiNancy Patricia D'Alesandro PelosiTlaib calls on Amash to join impeachment resolution 5 things to watch as Trump, Dems clash over investigations GOP lawmaker: Trump has engaged in multiple actions that 'meet the threshold for impeachment' MORE (D-Calif.) to hold a hearing on the Green New Deal, with one GOP lawmaker saying the plan to fight climate change was "tantamount to genocide."

Speaking at a press conference, House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthyKevin Owen McCarthyOn The Money: Treasury rejects Dem subpoena for Trump tax returns | Companies warn trade war about to hit consumers | Congress, White House to launch budget talks next week | Trump gets deal to lift steel tariffs on Mexico, Canada Congressional leaders to launch budget talks with White House RNC chair on Alabama abortion bill: I would have exceptions for rape, incest MORE (R-Calif) urged Pelosi to hold formal hearings over the nonbinding resolution introduced in February by progressive freshman Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-CortezAlexandria Ocasio-CortezThe Hill's 12:30 Report: Trump threatens jail time over 'treason' and 'spying' Lewandowski: Why Joe Biden won't make it to the White House — again Overnight Health Care — Presented by Campaign for Accountability — House passes drug pricing bills amid ObamaCare row | Senate Republicans running away from Alabama abortion law | Ocasio-Cortez confronts CEO over K drug price tag MORE (D-N.Y.), warning that it aims to “control too much of nearly every aspect of our lives.”

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“This is the start of a conversation I believe is long overdue,” said McCarthy. “We know so far that what the Green New Deal proposes would control nearly every element of our lives, from our travel to homeownership to what agriculture we could even grow. And that’s just the start.”

The group of 11 Republican lawmakers are sending a letter to Pelosi on Thursday. At the press conference, they warned of the consequential effects of the climate plan, which aims to create jobs through transitioning the U.S. electric grid to 100 percent renewable energy.

Rep. Rob BishopRobert (Rob) William BishopDozens of states consider move to permanent daylight saving time Statehood bill could make Puerto Rico a state before 2020 Here's why Congress, not the president, should lead on environmental protection MORE (R-Utah), the ranking member of the House Natural Resources Committee, said adopting the plan would be akin to “genocide.”

“For many people who live in the West, but also in urban and rural areas, the ideas behind the Green New Deal are tantamount to genocide,” Bishop said.

“That may be an overstatement, but not by a whole lot. The genesis of this concept is really coming from easterners who live in an urban setting and have no view of what it’s like in the rest of America. When you judge distance not in miles but in subway stops, you realize there is something that needs to be discussed with this particular process,” he said with a nod to Ocasio-Cortez.

"I wonder how many pinocchios Rep. Bishop will get for that misleading and offensive statement about genocide," Corbin Trent, communications director for Ocasio-Cortez, said in response to The Hill.

Rep. Greg WaldenGregory (Greg) Paul WaldenHere are the eight Republicans who voted with Democrats on the Equality Act House approves anti-LGBT discrimination Equality Act Overnight Health Care — Presented by Campaign for Accountability — House passes drug pricing bills amid ObamaCare row | Senate Republicans running away from Alabama abortion law | Ocasio-Cortez confronts CEO over K drug price tag MORE (R-Ore.), ranking member of the House Energy and Commerce Committee, said the plan was a direct threat to the American economy.

“We fear it could permanently put the American dream out of reach of Americans,” he said.

Republicans said that Democrats and Pelosi were “afraid” to hold a debate over the merits of the bill and that hearings would “hold Democrats accountable.” Leadership pointed to the media attention given to the Green New Deal and Democratic Party's support for it as proof that progressives had taken over the party.

“That debate inside their party is pretty much over. The socialist left, led by Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and [Sen.] Bernie SandersBernie SandersHere are the potential candidates still eyeing 2020 bids Sanders unveils education plan that would ban for-profit charter schools Warren policy ideas show signs of paying off MORE, they've won. And now Speaker Pelosi and her lieutenants are hoping to paper over the gap,” said Walden. 

Speaking in her weekly address Thursday, Pelosi waved off the republican lawmaker's calls for committee hearings.

"I'm not standing by any characterization that the Republicans have of anything. Unfamiliar as they may be with sending items to committee — because that's not what they ever did," she said.

She added that they will be sending some climate legislation to committees to debate, without adding specifics on whether that would include Ocasio-Cortez's resolution.

"This is a very high priority, and as you may or [may] not know, it was my flagship issue when I was Speaker the first time. So I welcome any enthusiasms in that regard. But as we legislate, we'll go through committee to see what the best possible approach is," Pelosi said.

The Senate is expected to vote on its companion legislation for the Green New Deal by the end of the month.

This story has been updated.