Energy & Environment

Ocasio-Cortez says having Green New Deal would have helped handle COVID-19 pandemic

Greg Nash

Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.) said Friday that having a Green New Deal would have helped the U.S. through the COVID-19 pandemic.

Asked by actor and activist Jane Fonda on Friday whether she believed that having a Green New Deal would have made the coronavirus easier to contain and the country’s health care system more resilient, the lawmaker responded “I absolutely think so.”

“If we had passed a Green New Deal by January of this year, that would mean that we had a political establishment that respects science, that is willing to mobilize and make major investments to protect the American people and frankly our global population,” Ocasio-Cortez said. 

“With those mechanisms in place, then I do believe we would have been better off. We would have respected the science early, we would have listened to scientists,” she added later. “At the beginning when we had a shortage on PPE, we didn’t have to have that shortage … we could’ve used — literally the Defense Production Act is designed for the government to mass mobilize industries to produce for the security of the American public.”

The conversation between the lawmaker and actor was held as part of Fonda’s Fire Drill Fridays in which she raises awareness about climate change. 

Ocasio-Cortez and Sen. Ed Markey (D-Mass.) introduced a congressional Green New Deal Resolution last year, which has since become a political lightning rod. 

Among the resolution’s goals are achieving net-zero greenhouse gas emissions through mechanisms like transitioning to clean energy in various sectors of the economy.

Its other goals include creating high wage jobs, investing in infrastructure and making sure that people have clean air and water. 

Progressive Democrats have rallied around the resolution while Republicans have sought to use it as a political cudgel. 

President Trump frequently uses the Green New Deal to go after rival Joe Biden, who has declined to explicitly endorse it, but whose website calls it a “crucial framework.”

Tags Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez Donald Trump Ed Markey Joe Biden

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