Dems Consider Voting ‘Present’ On Green New Deal To Shield Each Other

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Jason Hopkins Immigration and politics reporter
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Democrats may simply vote “present” if the Green New Deal resolution is put up for vote on the Senate floor, protecting members of their caucus from taking a public stance on the contentious resolution.

“I’m still pondering it. A lot of Democrats may vote — we’ll see, but a lot of us may vote ‘present’ on the cloture motion,” stated Delaware Democratic Sen. Tom Carper, who serves as the ranking member of the Environment and Public Works Committee, according to E&E News on Monday.

The possible strategy comes as Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell looks to put the Green New Deal up for a vote sometime this week. GOP leadership, which has lampooned the resolution, want to use the vote to force Democrats into taking a public stance on the dramatic call for 100 percent renewable energy and other far-left proposals.

Democrats, however, have criticized McConnell’s efforts, framing it as an attempt to torpedo progress.

“We’re trying to make sure we have as consolidated a Democratic caucus as we can because this is not serious legislation,” Rhode Island Democratic Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse told reporters Monday. “This is just Leader McConnell trying to be mischievous and cause trouble, and there’s no reason to encourage him or reward him.”

Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer showed even more contempt for McConnell’s plan, calling it a “cheap, cynical ploy” in comments made on Feb. 14.

The Green New Deal, spearheaded by self-identified Democratic socialist Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, calls for a number of seemingly-impossible measures, such as transitioning the country to 100 percent renewable energy in just 10 years, upgrading all the buildings in the country, and even addressing carbon emissions from cow flatulence.

U.S. Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez wipes away tears as Representative Ilhan Omar talks about her own experience as a refugee during a news conference at the U.S. Capitol in Washington

U.S. Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY) wipes away tears as Representative Ilhan Omar (D-MN) talks about her own experience as a refugee during a news conference to call on Congress to cut funding for ICE (Immigration and Customs Enforcement), at the U.S. Capitol in Washington, U.S. February 7, 2019. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst

The “present” vote would also protect a number of Democratic presidential contenders, many of them currently serving in the Senate. While some high-profile Democrats have expressed support for the Green New Deal, others, like Democratic Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren, have given more generic support for the plan. (RELATED: Sen. Whitehouse Struggles To Respond After WSJ Calls Him Out For Climate Hypocrisy)

Other Democrats have been more direct in their displeasure with the resolution. Senate Democratic Whip Dick Durbin, for example, said after he read and re-read the text of the Green New Deal, he approached a co-sponsor and asked, “What in the heck is this?”

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