Maybe Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez will have to be satisfied being merely green with envy. The most visible House Democrat on climate change won’t get a seat on Nancy Pelosi’s select committee addressing the issue. The Hill reports that Pelosi appointed three other frosh Democrats to the panel, which makes the snub even more obvious:
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) on Thursday named eight Democrats to the new special climate change committee, but Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (N.Y.) was not among them.
The panel, which is charged with examining climate change and steps to mitigate it, will include lawmakers with a wide range of tenures, including three freshmen. …
After Democrats won the House majority in November, Ocasio-Cortez emerged as an outspoken advocate for combating climate change and pushed for the select committee to be focused on formulating a Green New Deal that would move the country toward 100 percent renewable electricity over the next 10 years.
Just in case the message didn’t get through, Pelosi offered her thoughts on the Green New Deal, “or whatever they call it,” to Politico. Pelosi sniffed that its advocates don’t even know what they’re arguing for, let alone have any plan to deliver it:
Progressives had demanded a special climate panel tasked specifically with drafting legislation to end the nation’s reliance on fossil fuels in just over a decade and transform the economy.
The California Democrat did agree to launch a select committee on climate change, similar to the one she created back in 2007, when she first became speaker. Pelosi said Wednesday, however, the panel would not be tasked with writing a specific bill, and brushed off the idea of the Green New Deal as a “suggestion.”
“It will be one of several or maybe many suggestions that we receive,” Pelosi said. “The green dream or whatever they call it, nobody knows what it is, but they’re for it right?”
Ouch. Ocasio-Cortez can argue today that Pelosi’s wrong about not knowing what it is, at least. She and Senator Ed Markey (D-MA) will introduce a Green New Deal resolution sometime today, a non-binding bill that provides a “framework” for a public-works undertaking that would dwarf the New Deal and World War II. How realistic is this? Lachlan Markay gave just one example of the scale, along with a sense of its “dream”-like nature:
— Lachlan Markay (@lachlan) February 7, 2019
“[T]he question isn’t how we will pay for it,” Ocasio-Cortez’ FAQ declares, “but what we will do with our new shared prosperity.” Errrrr … NPR’s analysis of the non-binding proposal is carefully tuned to avoid outright laughter, but notes the “lofty” nature of its aims:
- “upgrading all existing buildings” in the country for energy efficiency;
- working with farmers “to eliminate pollution and greenhouse gas emissions… as much as is technologically feasible” (while supporting family farms and promoting “universal access to healthy food”);
- “Overhauling transportation systems” to reduce emissions — including expanding electric car manufacturing, building “charging stations everywhere,” and expanding high-speed rail to “a scale where air travel stops becoming necessary”;
- A guaranteed job “with a family-sustaining wage, adequate family and medical leave, paid vacations and retirement security” for every American;
- “High-quality health care” for all Americans.
Which is to say: the Green New Deal framework combines big climate-change-related ideas with a wish list of progressive economic proposals that, taken together, would touch nearly every American and overhaul the economy.
The rest of the FAQ is almost as laughable, and not very expertly prepared. “Americans love a challenge,” reads one section header, and “This is our moonshot.” It cites John F. Kennedy’s space program pledge to reach the moon in ten years, but it’s written as “When JFK said we’d go to the by the end of the decade.” Go to the what? Will all of the expertise that goes into a Green New Deal eventually include proofreaders?
All of which is to say that Pelosi has this right: it’s a nonsense fantasy, not a serious proposal. Pelosi wants this panel to work on educating people on the issue; she has already said it won’t write any bills, at least not in this session. The last thing Pelosi needs is to have Ocasio-Cortez hijack it for her own purposes, or to issue bills that would only produce gales of laughter. That’s why Ocasio-Cortez will be on the outside looking in on her own central issue. Welcome to the big leagues.
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