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 PelosiSally Yates: Moral fiber of US being 'shredded by unapologetic racism' Al Green calls for additional security for House members after Trump rally #IStandWithPresTrump trends in response to #IStandWithIlhan 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 slams House impeachment vote as 'most ridiculous project' House votes to kill impeachment effort against Trump White House, Congress inch toward debt, budget deal MORE (R-Calif) urged Pelosi to hold formal hearings over the nonbinding resolution introduced in February by progressive freshman Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-CortezAlexandria Ocasio-CortezTop Missouri newspaper condemns GOP's 'shameful silence' on Trump's 'racism' Restaurant in city where Trump rally held donating profits to immigrants Crowd chanting 'welcome home Ilhan' greets Omar at airport 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 BishopSenators introduce legislation to boost cyber defense training in high school Bureau of Land Management to move headquarters from DC to Colorado Overnight Energy: Democrats to vote on 2020 climate debate | Green groups sue to stop Keystone XL construction | States sue EPA for tougher rules on asbestos 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: EPA expands use of pesticide it considers 'highly toxic' to bees | House passes defense bill with measure targeting 'forever chemicals' | Five things to watch as Barry barrels through the Gulf House passes bill to crack down on toxic 'forever chemicals' Overnight Defense: Woman accusing general of sexual assault willing to testify | Joint Chiefs pick warns against early Afghan withdrawal | Tensions rise after Iran tries to block British tanker 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 Sanders2020 Democrats react to 'send her back' chants at Trump rally Cardi B posts message of support for Ilhan Omar #IStandWithIlhan trends after crowd at Trump rally chants 'send her back' 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.