Sen. Cory Booker, D-N.J., defended his support of the controversial “Green New Deal” on Friday, by comparing the government-led push to overhaul the nation’s economy and energy sector to landing on the moon and defeating the Nazis in World War II.
"There's a lot of people now going back on the Green New Deal, they're like 'oh it's impractical, oh it's too expensive, oh it's all of this,'" he said at a stop in Mason City, Iowa. "If we used to govern our dreams that way, we would have never gone to the Moon. 'God, that's impractical. See that ball in the sky? That's impractical.'"
"We are a nation that has done impossible things before and my parents taught me: 'Reach for the moon, reach for the stars. Even if you come up short, at least you're going to be hovering above the ground, you'll be soaring young man. So we need to be bold again in America. We need to have dreams that other people say are impossible."
Republicans immediately highlighted Booker's remarks, with Republican National Committee Chairwoman Ronna McDaniel tweeting: "You can't make this up."
Booker, along with a host of other 2020 Democratic presidential hopefuls, co-sponsored a nonbinding resolution unveiled Thursday by freshman Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, D-N.Y., and Sen. Ed Markey, D-Mass.
"Excited to join @AOC & @SenMarkey on a historic #GreenNewDeal resolution to address the peril of climate change and worsening inequality," he tweeted Thursday. "Our history is a testimony to the achievement of what some think is impossible — we must take bold action now."
The resolution calls for a “new national social, industrial and economic mobilization on a scale not seen since World War II and the New Deal,” and says it is an opportunity to tackle systemic injustices of minority groups, create millions of high-wage jobs and “provide unprecedented levels of prosperity and economic security for all people of the United States.”
It envisions a 10-year mobilization that would upgrade and expand power sources and power grids to meet 100 percent of power demand via clean energy sources, as well as overhauling transport systems to “eliminate pollution and greenhouse gas emissions from the transportation sector as much as is technologically feasible.”
On the economic front, the plan bundles together a host of liberal wish-list items. Among the most ambitious components is a plan to guarantee a job “with a family-sustaining wage, adequate family and medical leave, paid vacations, and retirement security to all people of the United States” -- and to provide health care, affordable housing, economic security and access to clean water, air, food and nature to all “people of the United States.”
The proposal has hit a wall of skepticism from Republicans, as well as some Democrats, particularly proposals in an accompanying FAQ released to NPR by Ocasio-Cortez’s office that included calls to make air travel unnecessary and give economic security to those “unwilling” to work.
But on Friday, Booker pushed back on that skepticism, and said that Americans had “done impossible things before.”
"We need to push the bounds of human potential because that is our history," he said enthusiastically.
"When the planet has been in peril in the past, who came forward to save Earth from the scourge of Nazis and totalitarian regimes? We came forward. Who came forward to save the planet, or continents, from financial ruin? We came forward with the Marshall Plan," he said. "Our history is standing up and saying, 'look, humanity is in crisis, America is going to be the light and the hope.'"