In a video released on Wednesday, Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, D-N.Y., told a "story from the future" in which her "Green New Deal" transformed the American economy and rescued the United States from the dire threat of climate change.
The freshman congresswoman predicted that Democrats would take both chambers of Congress and the White House by 2020 — ushering in a "decade of the Green New Deal" that prompted the "social and ecological transformation to save the planet."
"Lots of people gave up, they said we were doomed," she said after blaming fossil fuel companies like Exxon for saddling the public with the cost of climate issues. "But some of us remembered that as a nation, we'd been in peril before — the Great Depression, WWII — we knew from our history how to pull together to overcome impossible odds," she said.
Championed by Ocasio-Cortez, the "Green New Deal," has been criticized as unrealistic and too expensive. According to a conservative think tank's estimate, the plan could cost upwards of $93 trillion, more than four times the national debt as of April 15, 2019.
But in the video, published by the climate-oriented Sunrise Movement, Ocasio-Cortez described Green New Deal legislation as "the kind of swing-for-the-fence ambition we needed."
"Finally, we were entertaining solutions on the scale of the crises we faced without leaving anyone behind," she said.
Her plan included public works projects, a "federal jobs guarantee," and Medicare-for-all, which she predicted would become "the most popular social program in American history."
The ambitious video came at a time when Democrats appeared divided between more establishment Democrats and progressives like Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., who favors large-scale government programs like single-payer health care.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., has thrown cold water on progressive initiatives — rejecting socialism in a recent interview with CBS and minimizing Ocasio-Cortez and her colleagues as "like five people."
Senate Democrats snubbed Ocasio-Cortez's climate proposal last month when 42 Democrats, along with self-described socialist Sanders, voted present on a measure to bring the legislation to the floor for debate. Fifty-seven senators, including 53 Republicans, voted against breaking a filibuster.
During an interview with MSNBC last month, Ocasio-Cortez dismissed cost concerns as sounding like "Dr. Evil." "They wave this wand and they say, 'Oh, it's going to cost a bazillion dollars — like they sound like Dr. Evil, '$100 million.'"
She suggested instead that the government start with individual initiatives like fully funding pensions for coal miners in West Virginia. "Let's just start, now!" she exclaimed.