Green New Deal goes down as Democrats protest ‘sham’ vote
Senate Democrats largely held together in boycotting what they decried as a “sham” vote forced by Republicans on the ambitious Green New Deal.
The vote on the procedural motion failed on a 0-57 margin, with 43Democrats voting “present” to protest the GOP tactics.
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Just three Democrats — Sens. Doug Jones (Ala.), Joe Manchin (W.Va.) andKyrsten Sinema (Ariz.) — broke with their party to vote against the proposal for massive clean energy and infrastructure investments to rapidly slash greenhouse gas emissions and attempt to break economic inequality. The rest voted present, including six presidential candidates who co-sponsored the non-binding resolution S.J. Res. 8. Sen. Angus King (I-Maine), who caucuses with Democrats, also joined Republicans in voting no on Tuesday.
“While I appreciate the renewed conversation around climate change that the Green New Deal and its supporters have sparked, I think we need to focus on real solutions that recognize the role fossil fuels will continue to play,” Manchin said in a statement after the vote. “That’s why I voted against the resolution today.”
King told POLITICO he voted no “because I don’t think the resolution was very good.” In a statement from his office, King said he wanted to see action on climate change but was “concerned that the overly aggressive goals in the resolution … are unrealistic and far too broad.”
Sinema called for “realistic, achievable” proposals. “Congress should stop the political games and work together on practical solutions that foster a healthy environment, grow our economy, and help Arizona families get ahead,” she said in a statement.
Jones said he believes the U.S. must act to “mitigate the effects of climate change,” but he said the Green New Deal goes too far. “I hope that we can come together in a bipartisan way to find a path forward to secure our future,” he said in a statement.
Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), a co-sponsor of the resolution and leading presidential candidate, voted present with the rest of the Democratic caucus.
“It is beyond belief that when the scientists tell us we have 12 years before there will be irreparable damage to this planet, you have leadership here that is playing political games,” Sanders told reporters.
Republicans have railed against Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.) and Sen. Ed Markey’s (D-Mass.) resolution as a “disastrous socialist vision” and “a big green bomb.”
“The Green New Deal as proposed and advocated by many of its sponsors and promoters would actually be devastating and disastrous for the ag economy in South Dakota and for pretty much every other sector of the economy in this country,” Senate Majority Whip John Thune (R-S.D.) said at a press conference. “We look forward to and are anxious to have this debate.”
But Democrats say the Republican vote has elevated an issue voters increasingly say the government should address. Democrats have offered an “unity resolution” S.J. Res. 9 demanding urgent congressional action that’s been co-sponsored by all Democrats and Sen. Susan Collins (R-Maine), and they say Republicans have an obligation to acknowledge the problem and offer alternative ideas.
“For the first time, I heard Leader McConnell admit that climate change is real and caused by humans. Their sham vote is backfiring,” Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) said. “We, Democrats, are on offense… and we’re feeling really good about where we’re moving.”