New York Democratic Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez used her time during a House committee meeting to rip into GOP criticism of her signature project the Green New Deal (GND), following the failure of a hastily-arranged Senate vote on it. According to HuffPost, the firebrand progressive lit up Twitter with the impassioned speech, with one video of her two-minute tirade hitting over 2 million views in just a few hours. In the speech, Ocasio-Cortez lambasted Senate Republicans for playing politics with people’s lives, saying “people are dying,” and warning that “we are going to pay” whether the GND passes or not.
Ocasio-Cortez saved some choice words for Republican Sen. Sean Duffy of Wisconsin, who slammed the GND as something only wealthy elitists from blue states are interested in and can afford, saying only a “rich liberal from maybe New York or California” could afford the changes that will be required to reduce fossil fuel use quickly, as called for in the GND.
“This is not an elitist issue, this is a quality of life issue,” Ocasio-Cortez shot back. “You want to tell people that their concern and their desire for clean air and clean water is elitist? Tell that to the kids in the south Bronx, [who] are suffering from the highest rates of childhood asthma in the country.”
“Tell that to the families in Flint whose kids have their blood ascending in lead levels, their brains are damaged for the rest of their lives. Call them elitist.”
Ocasio-Cortez and other Democrats also called it a “sham” vote, as was reported in The Washington Post, saying that the Republicans who called for a Green New Deal vote in the Senate did so in a rushed fashion and put it on the Senate floor without expert testimony or a hearing in order to get Democrats on the record for or against. This is widely seen as a tactic that will allow GOP candidates to use it as a weapon against their Democrat opponents in the 2020 election.
“This is about American lives, and it should not be partisan. Science should not be partisan.”
The non-binding vote ultimately failed to reach the required 60-vote threshold to advance, reaching just 57-0. No Republican senators voted in favor of it, and three swing-state Democrats, including Sens. Doug Jones (Alabama), Joe Manchin III (West Virginia) and Kyrsten Sinema (Arizona) voted against it. Most Democrats simply voted “present.”
Ocasio-Cortez fumed at the GOP play, noting that the Republican senators’ concerns for the potential cost of implementing the ambitious plan echoes the same lines that government officials have been reciting about investing in climate change mitigation “for the entire 30 years of my lifetime” and still have yet to make any substantial investment in it.