House Democrats rolled out a climate agenda Tuesday as their caucus attempts to draw a distinction between New York Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez’s approach to tackling global warming and a more moderate plan.
Democrats on the Energy and Commerce Committee announced they would pursue legislation calling for net-zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050, a far less ambitious plan than the Green New Deal, which aims to complete the emissions target by 2030. Democrats criticized Ocasio-Cortez’s idea during the roll-out.
“The majority of the Democratic caucus is behind aggressive, but not socialist, climate policies,” Paul Bledsoe, who advised former President Bill Clinton on climate issues, told reporters, according to Bloomberg. “They worry the Green New Deal rhetoric could alienate rather than attract swing voters needed in 2020.”
“The climate crisis is here, and it requires serious federal leadership that’s up for the challenge,” Rep. Frank Pallone of New Jersey told reporters.
Reps. Paul Tonko, head of the Environment and Climate Change subcommitee, and Bobby Rush of Illinois, head of the energy subcommittee joined Pallone in the press conference. Ocasio-Cortez didn’t attend, Bloomberg reported.
The GND, as it has come to be known, sought for a “10-year national mobilization” to shift the country to 100% “zero-emission energy sources” — a lofty mission given that fossil fuels account for more than 80% of U.S. energy consumption in 2018. (RELATED: The Green New Deal Would Cause ‘Significant Environmental Damage,’ Report Finds)
Ocasio-Cortez’s brainchild was torpedoed in the Senate in March after Republicans voted en masse against the resolution while most Democrats voted present.
Tuesday’s proposal also comes as President Donald Trump attempts to associate moderate House Democrats with left-wing members of the caucus. Some House Democrats believe they played right into the president’s hands after they voted on a July 17 resolution condemning Trump’s tweets targeting Ocasio-Cortez and Rep. Ilhan Omar of Minnesota.
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