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 PelosiBloomberg faces criticism for tweet showing altered debate moment Trump knocks Democrats at rally: Bloomberg 'getting pounded' Biden earns endorsement from former House impeachment manager 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 McCarthyTrump officially makes Richard Grenell acting intelligence chief Overnight Energy: Trump signs order to divert water to California farmers | EPA proposes new rollback to Obama coal ash rules | Green group ranks Bloomberg, Klobuchar last in climate plans Trump signs order diverting water to California farmers against state wishes MORE (R-Calif) urged Pelosi to hold formal hearings over the nonbinding resolution introduced in February by progressive freshman Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-CortezAlexandria Ocasio-Cortez Ocasio-Cortez defends Warren against 'misogynist trope' Sanders nabs endorsement from Congressional Hispanic Caucus member Ocasio-Cortez defends Sanders running as a Democrat: It's 'more than what you call yourself' 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 BishopOvernight Energy: Panel gives chairman power to subpoena Interior | House passes bill to protect wilderness | House Republicans propose carbon capture bill | Ocasio-Cortez introduces bill to ban fracking House Natural Resources gives Grijalva power to subpoena Interior Overnight Energy: Trump credits economic progress to environmental rollbacks | Vote to subpoena Interior delayed by prayer breakfast | Dems hit agency for delaying energy efficiency funds 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 WaldenOvernight Energy: Green groups to sue over Trump rollback of Obama water rules | GOP climate plan faces pushback from right | Bezos launches B climate initiative GOP climate plan faces pushback — from Republicans Coalition plan seeks to cut carbon emissions in half by 2035 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 SandersNevada Democratic debate draws record-breaking 19.7 million viewers 'Where's your spoon?' What we didn't learn in the latest debate Ocasio-Cortez defends Warren against 'misogynist trope' 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.