This post has been updated to include Senator Klobuchar’s endorsement of the Green New Deal.
Congressional Republicans don’t have a plan to tackle climate change — an issue voters across the political spectrum now agree needs to be addressed — but it only took a weekend for the GOP to come up with a response to the Green New Deal proposed by Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and Senator Ed Markey.
Surprise! The right is not a fan of the proposal, which calls for rapid decarbonization of the economy alongside other agenda items like universal healthcare, housing, and a federal jobs guarantee. Already, more than 15 percent of the House — 68 members — have signed on as sponsors of the deal. Supporters include five high-profile presidential contenders, Cory Booker, Kamala Harris, Elizabeth Warren, Kirsten Gillibrand, and, most recently, Amy Klobuchar.
Republicans, banking on the hope that backing such an ambitious proposal will come back to bite Democrats during the presidential election next year, unleashed a torrent of backhanded encouragement.
“It would be great for the so-called ‘Carbon Footprint’ to permanently eliminate all Planes, Cars, Cows, Oil, Gas & the Military – even if no other country would do the same. Brilliant!,” President Trump tweeted on Saturday. Eliminating airplanes and oil and gas would be great for our carbon footprint, but the resolution doesn’t actually call for an end to fossil fuels.
“I would like them to push it as far as they can. I’d like to see it on the floor. I’d like to see them actually have to vote on it,” Idaho Republican Representative Mike Simpson told Politico, adding, “It’s crazy. It’s loony.” South Carolina’s Lindsey Graham tweeted on Friday, “Let’s vote on the Green New Deal!”
Other Republicans took a more straightforward approach. Wyoming Republican and Environment Chair John Barrasso called the deal a “socialist manifesto.” “I think everyone on our side would say that the Green New Deal is a little bit much,” Michigan Representative Fred Upton told journalists.
Clearly, Republicans are a bit skeptical of the goals outlined in AOC and Markey’s resolution. But I think the Democrats pushing the deal would agree with Senator Graham: “Let’s vote on the Green New Deal!”