Congressional Democrats, led by Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.) and Sen. Ed Markey (D-Mass.), reintroduced the Green New Deal on Tuesday, a sweeping progressive legislative agenda designed to fundamentally transform the U.S. economy to end capitalism while promoting so-called racial, economic, and climate "justice."
"Not only do we refuse to leave any community behind but those who have been left behind come first," Ocasio-Cortez said at a news conference announcing the reintroduction of the Green New Deal. "We're going to transition to a 100% carbon-free economy that is more unionized, more just, more dignified and that guarantees more health care and housing than we've ever had before. That's our goal."
More than 100 Democrats are co-sponsoring the reintroduction of the Green New Deal resolution in the House, which comes ahead of a virtual international summit hosted by President Joe Biden to discuss climate change on Earth Day, this Friday.
While President Biden's administration has not officially endorsed the Green New Deal, the president has signed several executive actions to curb U.S. oil and gas production and increase renewable energy production.
Sen. Markey urged Biden to be willing to go further to address climate change.
"We are going to be calling for the highest aspirations that our country can reach," he said Tuesday. "We want to go big. Even bigger."
Rep. @AOC reintroduces the Green New Deal: ’The climate crisis is a crisis born of injustice and it is a crisis bor… https://t.co/239OuAhpVf— NowThis (@NowThis)1618932272.0
Ocasio-Cortez first introduced the Green New Deal in 2019 as a nonbinding resolution in the House that broadly outlined a Democratic legislative agenda to remake the economy. The plan sets a goal of "net-zero greenhouse gas emissions" which will be met after a "10-year national mobilization" that would restructure government social programs, vastly expand government power to centrally plan the economy, and dramatically increase federal taxes and spending to fund it all.
The Green New Deal calls for "100 percent of the power demand in the United States" to be met through "clean, renewable, and zero-emission energy sources." Infrastructure and public transportation would be overhauled to the point where "air travel stops becoming necessary," relying on boondoggles like "high speed rail" and mandates requiring the public to use electric cars to meet the government's standards. The resolution calls for "all existing buildings" in the United States to be upgraded for maximum energy efficiency.
But the "all hands on deck approach" of the Green New Deal goes well beyond climate policy. Ocasio-Cortez said the Democratic initiative must "rectify the injustices of the past" by providing free higher education for all Americans, "affordable, safe, and adequate" housing, free health care, and millions of "union jobs."
She further added that Green New Deal legislation must address the "systemic cause of climate change."
"While climate change is a planetary crisis, it does not have a random or environmental genesis," she asserted. "It's not just human-caused, it's societally-caused. The climate crisis is a crisis born of injustice. And it is a crisis born of the pursuit of profit at any and all human and ecological cost.
"We must recognize in legislation that the trampling of indigenous rights is a cause of climate change. That the trampling of racial justice is a cause of climate change," she continued. "We are allowing folks to deny ourselves human rights and deny people the right to health care, the right to housing and education."
Green New Deal legislation is likely to remain aspirational for Democrats as Republicans are adamantly opposed to these policies, arguing they would make Americans poorer. Sen. John Barasso (R-Wyo.) called it the "Green New Disaster" in a statement responding to Markey and Ocasio-Cortez's news conference.
The Green New Disaster is back. And if you're somebody who pays taxes, heats your home, or drives a car...you're g… https://t.co/DQtnDwQsa0— Senate Republicans (@Senate Republicans)1618943219.0
"It's about massively increasing the size of government and dictating how Americans live their lives," Barasso said. "The last thing we need now is to double down on the punishing policies we have already seen from the Biden administration."
Various bills related to Green New Deal policies that have already passed the Democratic-controlled House and have gone nowhere in the U.S. Senate. The Democrats' narrowest possible 50-50 majority cannot overcome a filibuster threat from Republicans, leaving the viability of a plan to fundamentally restructure the U.S. economy very much in doubt.
For now, the Green New Deal serves as a messaging tool for Democrats to rally their progressive base and Republicans to attack ahead of the 2022 midterm elections.