House Speaker Nancy Pelosi threw a bit of shade Wednesday on freshman Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez’s plan for a sweeping “Green New Deal.”
After praising Ocasio-Cortez, D-N.Y., for her high-profile debut as a member of Congress, the speaker did not exactly give her signature legislative proposal a standing ovation.
“It will be one of several or maybe many suggestions we receive,” Pelosi, D-Calif., said of the “Green New Deal” in a Wednesday interview with Politico. “The green dream, or whatever they call it, nobody knows what it is, but they’re for it right?”
The timing of Pelosi’s slight came hours before Ocasio-Cortez and Sen. Ed Markley, D-Mass., introduced the framework of their bill that aims to reconfigure the American economy to better combat climate change.
The main tenets of the ambitious “Green New Deal,” which is unlikely to become law in its current form, include making all existing buildings in the U.S. energy efficient; eliminating pollution and greenhouse gas emissions “as much as possible” on farms; overhauling the country’s transportation system, including a transition to high-speed rail and electric vehicles; guaranteeing a “family-sustaining wage” for all U.S. workers; and providing “high-quality health care” for all Americans.
After working in vain to pass previous bills that would implement cap-and-trade emissions regulations to address climate change, Pelosi, 78, told Politico that any new legislation “has to be Congress-wide.”
Ocasio-Cortez, 29, tends to bristle at that kind of pragmatic approach. At a Thursday press conference on Capitol Hill, she framed the urgency of finding a solution to climate change in generational terms.
“I am so excited that we are going to transition this country into the future and we are not going to be dragged behind by our past,” Ocasio-Cortez said.
Several confirmed and prospective presidential candidates for the Democratic nomination confirmed their support for the “Green New Deal” on Thursday, including those who have co-sponsored the legislation.
— Kamala Harris (@KamalaHarris) February 7, 2019
A #GreenNewDeal is ambitious. It’s bold. And I’m cosponsoring this resolution with @aoc and @senmarkey because it’s exactly the kind of action it will take to conquer the biggest threat of our lifetime. https://t.co/CfQFgBnlat
— Kirsten Gillibrand (@SenGillibrand) February 7, 2019
Conservatives like Trump 2020 campaign manager, Brad Parscale, however, sought to portray the proposal as ruinous for the nation’s economy.
So many blindly vote for Democrats without knowing these policies destroy jobs and actually make their lives tougher. I wonder if Democrats who represent middle-class and poverty stricken districts will fight the Green New Deal, as it would be devastating to their constituents. https://t.co/GnqYzGjBEv
— Brad Parscale (@parscale) February 7, 2019
Just a day earlier, the Department of Energy announced a rollback of efficiency standards for light bulbs that were set to go into effect in 2020.
As for Pelosi’s “green dream” remark to Politico, Ocasio-Cortez seemed undeterred and sought to spin the comment in a positive light.
“No, I think it is a dream,” she told reporters.
Pelosi left Ocasio-Cortez off of a new climate change select committee, the members of which were announced Thursday, but at a Thursday news conference took pains to applaud the goals and enthusiasm of the Green New Deal.
The new Democratic phenom meanwhile declined to portray her omission from the select committee as a slight.
“I will not allow our caucus to be divided up by whatever narrative, we are 100 percent in this together,” Ocasio-Cortez said.