Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said Tuesday that the Senate will vote on the Green New Deal – endorsed by nearly all top 2020 Democratic presidential candidates – in an effort to force Democrats to officially go on the record for the radical proposal.
“I’ve noted with great interest the Green New Deal,” McConnell told reporters. “And we’re going to be voting on that in the Senate. We’ll give everybody an opportunity to go on record and see how they feel about the Green New Deal.”
The Green New Deal proposal, concocted by U.S. Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, D-N.Y., has been widely mocked following the chaotic rollout and circulation of a now-infamous FAQ document about the plan.
The radical proposal, which aims to transform the U.S. with a New Deal-type of mobilization in a bid to combat climate change, came under scrutiny after revelations that the FAQ document included passages promising a job to “all people of the United States” – including those “unwilling to work” – and essentially getting rid of the air travel industry.
“We set a goal to get to net-zero, rather than zero emissions, in 10 years because we aren’t sure that we’ll be able to fully get rid of farting cows and airplanes that fast,” the now-deleted document also read.
But McConnell’s move to bring the plan to a vote on the Senate floor will be a key test for Democratic presidential candidates such as Sens. Kamala Harris, Cory Booker, Elizabeth Warren, Kirsten Gillibrand, who are running on the progressive platform in 2020.
While backing of the far-left proposal will ultimately improve their liberal bona fides and their support from the Democratic base, the support of the plan will undoubtedly be the target of attacks during the general election.
President Trump has already begun attacking the Green New Deal, claiming it would “shut down American energy” and describing it as “a high school term paper that got a low mark” during a rally Monday in El Paso, Texas.
Some Democrats mulling their own 2020 bids have expressed concerns about the Green New Deal. U.S. Sen. Sherrod Brown, D-Ohio, told reporters that his progressivism doesn’t depend on the radical climate-change proposal.
“I don’t need to co-sponsor every bill that others think they need to co-sponsor to show my progressive politics,” Brown told reporters.
U.S. Sen. Amy Klobuchar, D-Minn., who announced her candidacy last week, remains a supporter of the proposal but only in principal, admitting that she may oppose certain specific elements within the plan.
“The Green New Deal? I see it as aspirational. I see it as a jump-start,” Klobuchar said on "Special Report with Bret Baier" on Tuesday. “So I would vote yes [on the Green New Deal resolution], but I would also -- if it got down to the nitty-gritty of an actual legislation, as opposed to, 'Oh, here's some goals we have' -- uh, that would be different for me.”
Corbin Trent, a spokesman for Ocasio-Cortez, said that McConnell’s plan to bring the plan to the vote will only show “just how out of touch Republican politicians are with the American people.”
The Associated Press contributed to this report.