AOC, progressives kick off fresh Green New Deal push with multiple pieces of legislation

'Green New Deal week' comes as Biden administration advances a $2.3T infrastructure package

Members of the progressive "Squad" rallied around a new push for the "Green New Deal" on Tuesday with separate bills for public housing, a civilian climate corps and funding for cities.

"For so long, our movement toward a sustainable future has been divided with really just this false notion that we have to choose between our planet and our economy," said Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, D-N.Y. at a press conference in D.C.

"And we decided to come together in sweeping legislation that not only rejects that notion, but creates a plan for 20 million union jobs in the United States of America to rebuild our infrastructure, to restore public housing, to make sure that we expand our access not only to EV [electric vehicles] and EV infrastructure, but mass transit."

She stood alongside Sen. Ed Markey, D-Mass., who helped introduce the original Green New Deal and was co-sponsoring a bill to create climate-related jobs.

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Ocasio-Cortez's "Green New Deal week" comes as the Biden administration advances a $2.3 trillion infrastructure package, which could face criticism among Democrats for not going far enough in spending. Her public housing legislation, co-sponsored by Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., would reportedly triple the amount proposed by Biden.

Markey, on Tuesday, signaled he would push Biden to expand his ambitions, noting that the president's policies included the "DNA of the Green New Deal."

"The Biden administration is including climate action, environmental justice and the care economy in its recovery plan," he said. "That's the DNA of the Green New Deal that we introduced." 

It's unlikely that the ambitious outline for reforms will have much success in a Congress bitterly divided on both infrastructure and climate. While Republicans have long denounced the original Green New Deal, they've already criticized Biden's proposal for spending too much.

Progressives have insisted, however, that the scope of climate mitigation must meet what they call an "existential crisis." Ocasio-Cortez and fellow "Squad" member Cori Bush, D-Mo., are co-sponsoring legislation that would authorize $1 trillion for the "Green New Deal for Cities Act."

Bush pledged at Tuesday's press conference that her legislation would "fund a Green New Deal in every city, every town, every state, every tribe, and every territory – right away."

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Behind Republican opposition are concerns about its feasibility. The large-scale government regulation involved, critics say, would limit freedoms and deal severe financial damage to the country.

During the campaign, then-candidate Joe Biden said he would use the Green New Deal as a framework for his climate plan, although his proposal cost significantly less than other plans that adopted that framework. Regardless, Biden's plan aims for the type of economy-wide transformation advocated by more left-leaning members of his party.