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Ocasio-Cortez Unveils the Green New Deal Outline

On Thursday, Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY) released plans for a climate change resolution, outlining legislation intended to help the United States reduce its carbon emission.

Alongside Sen. Ed Markley (D-MA), the two Congressional representatives unveiled the Green New Deal, a plan that promises to bring about greater sustainability and efficiency in infrastructure sectors across the country and also make the United States carbon neutral by 2030. In the process, Ocasio-Cortez asserts that this agenda will promote “justice and equity by preventing current and repairing historic oppression to frontline and vulnerable communities and also create millions of good, high-wage jobs.”

Rep. Ocasio-Cortez and Sen. Markey unveiling plans for a Green New Deal. Credit:  EPA

Rep. Ocasio-Cortez and Sen. Markey unveiling plans for a Green New Deal. Credit: EPA

Since the start of Ocasio-Cortez’s congressional campaign, the representative has made climate change a part of her progressive platform. During the freshman congresswoman’s first day on Capitol Hill last November, she engaged in a sit-in in front of Speaker of House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) with youth climate advocates, demanding the Speaker to prioritize climate change as Democrats retake the House.

Following the revelation of the Green New Deal, Speaker Pelosi revealed a roster for the House’s select committee on climate change. Speaking to reporters, Pelosi stated that she had offered Ocasio-Cortez a spot on the panel, but she had declined it. In an interview with MSNBC, Ocasio-Cortez said, “When I got the call recently to get on the select committee, I didn’t feel like I would be able to do it justice.”

Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi briefing reporters on the House’s climate change committee. Credit: J. Scott Applewhite/ AP Photo

Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi briefing reporters on the House’s climate change committee. Credit: J. Scott Applewhite/AP Photo

The select committee on climate change will not prioritize the freshman congresswoman’s agenda. Speaker Pelosi downplayed Ocasio-Cortez’s agenda, noting that, “it will be one of several or maybe many suggestions that we receive.” Despite the objections from the Speaker, the resolution has already gained the support of many 2020 Democratic hopefuls, including Senators Kamala Harris (D-CA), Cory Booker (D-NJ), and Bernie Sanders (I-VT).

Even with the overwhelming support from climate change activists, the resolution faces an uphill battle, as it faces opposition from its own party and the Republicans. In the Senate, Senator Joe Manchin (D-WV) is expected to be one of the greatest sources of opposition to the bill. Manchin has been known to receive large campaign donations from energy companies and is vocal about his support for the coal industry. Manchin has been selected as the new ranking chairman in the Energy Committee and is expected to be an obstacle that progressive leaders will have to overcome in order to pass sweeping climate change legislation.