As the Senate voted against a measure sponsored by Ms Ocasio-Cortez and others that sought to push the US towards the use of renewable energy, Republican Mike Lee said their plan – the so-called Green New Deal – was “ridiculous”.
During a speech that he illustrated with pictures and posters of dinosaurs, cartoon characters, babies and Aquaman, the senator from Utah claimed he was treating Ms Ocasio-Cortez’s proposal “with the seriousness it deserves”.
“Unfortunately, fear is unavoidable when debating the substance of the resolution before this body today – that is climate change, socialism, and the Green New Deal,” Mr Lee said.
“Unlike some of my colleagues, I am not immediately afraid of what carbon emissions, unaddressed, might do to our environment, in the near-term future, or our civilisation or our planet in the next few years. Unlike others, I am not immediately afraid of what the Green New Deal would do to our economy and our government. After all, this isn’t going to pass.”
Mr Lee, a staunch conservative, also tweeted a photograph of his presentation. “The solution to climate change is not this unserious resolution, but the serious business of human flourishing – the solution to so many of our problems, at all times and in all places: fall in love, get married, and have some kids,” he wrote.
The 29-year-old New York congresswoman, known for her progressive policies and high media profile despite only taking her seat in January, quickly hit back.
GOP Senators are using their Congressional allowances to print Aquaman posters for themselves to argue that a #GreenNewDeal saving our nation from climate change is a ‘waste of money’ 😂 https://t.co/iMNY0dJmCy— Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (@AOC)March 26, 2019
“GOP Senators are using their congressional allowances to print Aquaman posters for themselves to argue that a #GreenNewDeal saving our nation from climate change is a waste of money,” she tweeted.
She added: “Like many other women + working people, I occasionally suffer from impostor syndrome: those small moments, especially on hard days, where you wonder if the haters are right. But then they do things like this to clear it right up. If this guy can be senator, you can do anything.”
The Green New Deal likely to emerge as one of the Democrats’ main talking points as they seek to take control of the White House in 2020.
Many of the party’s leading candidates seeking the nomination have backed the measure.
Senators voted 57-0 against a procedural motion to take up the nonbinding resolution. Four Democrats joined all 53 Senate Republicans in opposing the motion to take up the plan, the Associated Press reported.
Forty-three Democrats voted “present” to protest the GOP’s action. Democrats accused Republicans of quashing debate by blocking public hearings and expert testimony about the consequences of inaction on climate change.