Editor’s note: With President Donald Trump and many Republican senators losing ground in recent polls, the odds of Democrats controlling all three branches of government are increasing. The series “Here’s What To Expect In 2021” will cover policies that have passed in the Democrat-run U.S. House of Representatives and which poll well among the Democrat base.
As November 2020 approaches, all eyes are on the battle for the presidency between incumbent President Donald Trump and former Vice President Joe Biden. However, given Trump’s recent decline in the polls, next year could look very different if Democrats manage to take control of Congress and the presidency– and one thing you can expect is a Green New Deal.
Amidst the coronavirus pandemic and heightened racial tensions following the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis Police custody, Trump’s poll numbers have fallen, prompting concerns that Democrats could take Congressional seats from vulnerable GOP incumbents and flip the Senate.
A Democrat-controlled Congress could have free reign to pass sweeping policy changes that have been blocked by Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and Congressional Republicans thus far. (RELATED: Ocasio-Cortez Defends ‘Defund The Police’ Slogan, Says It Shouldn’t Be ‘Repackaged’ For Suburban White Voters)
For one, the infamous “Green New Deal” would likely be pushed through Congress. Introduced by New York Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and Massachusetts Senator Ed Markey, the non-binding legislative package would set a 10-year goal of universal housing and health care, eliminating all carbon emissions from the United States, and guaranteeing all Americans a job “with a family-sustaining wage, adequate family and medical leave, paid vacations and retirement security.”
It may seem far-fetched to think that this sweeping legislation would ever pass, considering it failed in the Senate in 2019 by a vote of 0-57 after 43 Democrats voted “present.” However, the Democrats’ non-vote was reportedly less of a stab at the legislation itself and more of a protest against Mitch McConnell calling an early vote.
If they take control of the Senate in 2021, Congressional Democrats have little motivation to vote against the Green New Deal. When it was introduced, it was doomed to fail in the Republican-controlled Senate – with that hurdle gone, lawmakers just have their constituents to worry about, and Democratic voters have made their views on the bill clear.
A Yale/George Mason University poll conducted in April 2019 found that 88% of “moderate Democrats” and 96% of “liberal Democrats” supported the Green New Deal. It also found that the more Democratic voters had heard about the legislation, the more inclined they were to support it.
The consequences of passing the Green New Deal are far-reaching. The conservative nonprofit group Competitive Enterprise Institute reported in February that the per-household cost of implementing the bill would be around $75,000 “annually on a permanent basis.” The costs, they say, could end up being much higher due to unknown factors related to a shift to 100% green energy.
Ocasio-Cortez’s chief of staff Saikat Chakrabarti admitted that the Green New Deal “wasn’t originally a climate thing at all,” saying in 2019 that “we really think of it as a how-do-you-change-the-entire-economy thing.”