Green New Deal: McConnell wants Democrats to go 'on record' about AOC's climate change plan

Ledyard King

WASHINGTON – Sen. Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., is anxious to corner Senate Democrats – including several running for president in 2020 – on the Green New Deal, an ambitious plan to combat climate change and promote social justice that conservatives denounce as radical.

McConnell told reporters Tuesday he plans to bring the resolution to a vote "to give everybody an opportunity to go on record to see how they feel about the Green New Deal."

The non-binding measure is a proposal from Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, D-N.Y., and Sen. Ed Markey, D-Mass.

It has no chance of passing the GOP-controlled Senate.

But such a vote could force as many as seven Senate Democrats who have announced, or are considering, a run for president to choose a side on the debate over the controversial measure that calls not only for a sharp transition to 100 percent renewable energy but also higher education, housing and job guarantees for all U.S. citizens.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) arrives at a press conference at the U.S. Capitol following the weekly Republican policy luncheon on January 29, 2019 in Washington, DC. McConnell answered a range of questions during the press conference, most focusing on negotiations to prevent another government shutdown.

Senators who have announced they will seek the Democratic nomination for president include Amy Klobuchar of Minnesota, Kamala Harris of California, Kirsten Gillibrand of New York, Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts and Cory Booker of New Jersey. Those considering a run include Sherrod Brown of Ohio, and Bernie Sanders, a Vermont Independent.

The Green New Deal was released by Democrats in response to government warnings about the perils climate change poses to the planet in terms of droughts, extreme weather and food shortages.

The broadly worded resolution promotes an ambitious agenda: drastically reduce carbon emissions over the next decade by spending on green infrastructure that protects the planet while ensuring justice and equity for all communities.

Related: Green New Deal: Ocasio-Cortez plan has yet to have Pelosi backing as both emphasize climate change

Related: Green New Deal: What is it and what does it mean for climate change?

It calls for the federal government to promote and spend on sustainable farming practices, more training for clean energy sector jobs, cleaner transportation systems such as high-speed rail, and spending on technology that will reduce humans' carbon footprint.

The plan's sweeping goals drew the derision of President Donald Trump Monday who called it amateurish and unrealistic.

"It sounds like a high school term paper that got a low mark," he told supporters at a campaign rally in El Paso, Texas.

Despite McConnell's call for a vote, Markey said Republicans don’t want to debate climate change, "they only want to deny it."

"They have offered no plan to address this economic and national security threat and want to sabotage any effort that makes Big Oil and corporate polluters pay," Markey said in a statement released by his office. "The Green New Deal resolution has struck a powerful nerve in this country, and Republicans, climate deniers, and the fossil fuel industry are going to end up on the wrong side of history.”

This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Green New Deal: McConnell wants Democrats to go 'on record' about AOC's climate change plan