U.S. Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, D-N.Y., was forced to defend her Green New Deal from accusations of elitism after a Republican colleague in the House trashed the measure as welcomed only by rich liberals in New York and California.
Rep. Sean Duffy, R-Wis., mocked Ocasio-Cortez’s plan to combat climate change during a Financial Services Committee hearing on Monday, introducing an amendment to a homelessness bill that would create “green” standards -- and demonstrate what he viewed as the impracticability of the Democrat’s plan.
“The Green New Deal is one that if you are a rich liberal from maybe New York or California it sounds great because you can afford to retrofit your home or build a new home that has zero emissions, that is energy efficient, affordable and safe,” Duffy said.
“The Green New Deal is one that if you are a rich liberal from maybe New York or California it sounds great because you can afford to retrofit your home or build a new home that has zero emissions, that is energy efficient, affordable and safe.”
He went on to cite a study from the Department of Housing and Urban Development showing that it would cost over $172 billion to retrofit existing houses in the U.S. to meet the standards set by the Green New Deal.
“It’s outrageous. It’s absolutely outrageous,” Duffy added.
But Ocasio-Cortez didn’t go without a fight at the hearing, slamming the congressman earlier for introducing the amendment “five minutes before a hearing” while people are “dying.”
She then defended against the accusations that her measure to combat climate change is an “elitist issue” that can be afforded only by the richest people in the country.
“You want to tell people that their concern and their desire for clean air and clean water is elitist, tell that to the kids in the South Bronx which is suffering from the highest rates of childhood asthma in the country,” she said.
“Tell that to the families in Flint, whose kids have their blood ascending in lead levels,” she added. “Their brains are damaged for the rest of their lives. Call them elitist.”
The firebrand congresswoman then taunted Duffy, saying she welcomes “the sudden enthusiasm to address the climate, and in that spirit I want to reach my hand across the aisle and say let’s do a hearing.”
The exchange came as the Senate blocked the advancement of the Green New Deal in the chamber after Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., introduced the measure in a bid to force Democrats, including a trove of 2020 presidential candidates, to go on the record supporting the radical measure that would reorganize the nation's economy.
Ocasio-Cortez, who co-wrote the Green New Deal resolution with U.S. Sen. Ed Markey, D-Mass., called the effort to bring her plan to a vote a “stunt.”