March 27, 2019

Senate Votes on Green New Deal

Editor's note: We couldn’t be more proud of one of our teammates, Isaac Rose-Berman, who penned his first op-ed this week in USA Today: “How college students can bridge American divides: 'Study abroad' in Alabama or New York.” Please give it a read, and share far and wide!

On Tuesday, “Senators voted 57-0 against [taking] up the nonbinding [Green New Deal] resolution, which calls for the U.S. to shift away from fossil fuels such as oil and coal and replace them with renewable sources such as wind and solar power… Three Democrats and independent Sen. Angus King of Maine, who caucuses with Democrats, joined all 53 Senate Republicans in opposing the climate plan. Forty-three Democrats voted ‘present’ to protest the GOP’s action.” AP News

See our previous coverage of the Green New Deal here. The Flip Side

See past issues

From the Left

The left acknowledges that the specifics of the Green New Deal have yet to be determined, but accuses Republicans of focusing on political stunts rather than offering good-faith solutions to climate change.

“McConnell wanted to put moderate Senate Democrats on the spot by making them publicly vote yes or no on the resolution. It’s a way to sow chaos in the party and create fodder for political ads ahead of 2020 Senate elections.”
Li Zhou and Ella Nilsen, Vox

Fortunately, “the ploy fell flat. Most Democrats agreed ahead of time to go with a noncommittal vote of ‘present,’ thus denying Mr. McConnell his desired drama and any meaningful vote count… The Green New Deal is by no means a fully baked proposal for combating climate change. But for all its flaws, it is a more promising first step than the Republican leaders’ chosen strategy of inaction and sneering denial.”
Michelle Cottle, The New York Times

“During floor debate ahead of a vote on the Green New Deal, Sen. Mike Lee (R-Utah) told his colleagues that if they really want to address environmental concerns they’ll encourage people to couple off and have more babies… This recommendation, to add more people to the planet, doesn’t track with science or reason. A 2017 research article determined that one way an individual could contribute to eliminating greenhouse gases is to have one fewer child."
Colby Itkowitz, Washington Post

“McConnell tried to rush the #GreenNewDeal straight to the floor without a hearing. The real question we should be asking: Why does the Senate GOP refuse to hold any major hearings on climate change?
Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY), Twitter

Some note that “Tuesday’s Senate vote rejecting the Green New Deal masks a striking reality: In a matter of months, liberal activists have upended the conversation about climate change among both parties in Washington… even as Republicans seek to exploit that divide, many GOP lawmakers are offering climate solutions of their own. And few besides President Donald Trump still dispute that the changing climate is a problem.”
Zack Colman and Anthony Adragna, Politico

Senator Doug Jones (D-AL) writes, “This week, the Senate voted on one idea: the Green New Deal. Unfortunately, it was too broad and went too far. It tried to address such a diverse set of problems facing our country —climate change, lack of access to health care, and stagnant wages, for example —that it was not practical and collapsed under its own weight. I voted against it for this reason…

“Our leaders and the media spend too much time bickering about unrealistic ideas and not enough time talking about real steps we can take to protect our environment and grow our economy. While the Green New Deal is not a feasible way to move forward, I hope we can come together at every level of government and industry and find a path forward to secure our future.”
Sen. Doug Jones, al.com

“In 2014, [Colorado] became the first state to impose its own regulation on methane emissions, which are 25 times worse for climate change than carbon dioxide, and we did it by working with both environmentalists and industry. We implemented new standards for low-emission vehicles and expanded Colorado’s renewable energy standard, doubling the goal for rural electric producers. We also built public support for unprecedented expansions of light rail and the retrofitting of buildings to save energy. At the same time, we created more than 10,000 clean-energy jobs — just as we can create millions of clean-energy jobs across the country if we take the right steps.”
John Hickenlooper, Washington Post

From the Right

The right accuses Democrats of hypocrisy for voting against a resolution they claim to support and argues for alternative solutions to climate change.

From the Right

The right accuses Democrats of hypocrisy for voting against a resolution they claim to support and argues for alternative solutions to climate change.

If the measure is simply a resolution laying out goals, why can’t all members of the Senate say whether or not they support the goals now, as Markey, Ocasio-Cortez, and the Senate Democrats running for president had done when the Green New Deal was first introduced? ‘We haven’t had any witnesses or expertise or science,’ Markey replied… But if further study is required before senators should be expected to take a stand on whether the goal makes sense, then the decision by Markey and Ocasio-Cortez to establish those goals in February doesn’t make sense.”
John McCormack, National Review

Only in Congress could a political party introduce legislation with great media fanfare, then vote against it and blame the other side for cynicism… The real stunt is the Green New Deal. Democrats want to be seen as doing something about climate change without being accountable for the cost of their ideas. The Green New Deal proposes explicitly to retrofit every house in America and eliminate fossil fuels within a decade. That would mean higher energy costs, much higher taxes, and lower living standards for every American.”
Editorial Board, Wall Street Journal

“Every Democratic senator running for president has publicly stated his or her support for the Green New Deal, and, in fact, all of them have even signed on to Markey’s legislation as a cosponsor. Yet not one of them voted in favor of the measure this afternoon… the men and women who wish to be our next president should have the political courage either to vote for the proposals they say they support or to publicly oppose the policies for which they refuse to vote.”
Alexandra DeSanctis, National Review

“They're willing enough to say the Green New Deal needs to happen, not willing enough to vote to advance it, but also not willing enough to say ‘no’ to it. True profiles in courage… One obvious takeaway from the vote is that the overwhelming majority of Senate Democrats are interested in combating climate change so long as it doesn’t actually involve anything more than talking.”
Becket Adams, Washington Examiner

Many argue that “if Democrats cared about global warming as anything more than a political issue, they would not be wasting time with useless and impractical proposals like this one. Instead, they would start by creating policies more conducive to fracking for natural gas in the short run. This technology has done more in 10 years to reduce American carbon emissions than all the efforts of all environmental activists in history combined… Beyond that, Democrats who fear a warming planet should endorse and legislate toward the long-term expansion of nuclear energy, which safely and effectively freed France from its carbon footprint long ago.”
Editorial Board, Washington Examiner

“With nuclear power available, the Green New Deal's strategy for fighting climate change with windmills makes as much sense as going to war in sailboats… [Instead] I propose this response to climate change: the United States should launch a New Manhattan Project for Clean Energy, a five-year project to meet Ten Grand Challenges that will use American research and technology to put our country and the world firmly on a path toward cleaner, cheaper energy… American innovation is the answer. According to the Global Carbon Project, over the last 13 years, the United States has reduced production of greenhouse gases more than any major country – largely thanks to conservation and switching from coal to natural gas for electricity.”

Sen. Lamar Alexander (R-TN), Fox News

Others note, “I’d hate to be a Democratic member of Congress trying to convince Joe Sixpack that this is a whole new ballgame. The transcript shows Trump being Trump and Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelensky trying to ingratiate himself with the big dog by, for instance, mentioning that he stays at Trump hotels. Trump’s conversation is typically scattershot, wandering all over the field, leaving a reasonable listener puzzled about what the takeaways are supposed to be…

“I think Joe Sixpack’s response is going to be a hearty shrug. After all that has emerged about Trump so far, his approval rating is closely tracking Obama’s approval at the same point in his presidency. To get Mr. Sixpack’s attention you are going to have to do better than this.”
Kyle Smith, National Review

President Trump should be happy. As much as Warren is articulate, obviously intelligent, and energetically supported by Democrats, she would also be far easier to defeat than Joe Biden… Considering Trump's economy, the president is well placed to defeat Warren.”
Tom Rogan, Washington Examiner

A libertarian's take

“After adding in the ultra-millionaire’s tax and factoring in the other capital taxes Warren wants to levy — on financial transactions, on unrealized capital gains, on corporations — we’d be asking every billionaire to hand over more than two-thirds of their total wealth over a 10-year period. If the government actually managed to collect it, their fortunes would rapidly erode — and so would tax collections. The plan might be a good way to smash wealth, but it’s a terrible way to fund the nation’s health-care system…

“If Warren makes it to the White House, and tries to pass a plan, the Congressional Budget Office will eventually attach more reasonable numbers, with more defensible assumptions, sparking an even more spectacular political blowback than the one that greeted Friday’s announcement. Outside of the progressive Twitterati, there isn’t necessarily an enormous constituency for spending $20.5 trillion to herd every American into a national health insurance program; there would be even less support for spending what Warren’s plan would actually cost.”
Megan McArdle, Washington Post

On the bright side...

Voodoo dolls of bosses improve staff morale, study finds.
The Telegraph

Get troll-free political news.

Thank you! Your submission has been received!
Oops! Something went wrong while submitting the form.