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Markey, AOC Reintroduce Green New Deal

Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D., N.Y.) and Senator Ed Markey (D., Mass.) hold a news conference for their proposed Green New Deal in Washington, D.C., February 7, 2019. (Jonathan Ernst/Reuters)

Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D., N.Y.) and Senator Ed Markey (D., Mass.) on Tuesday reintroduced a resolution saying it is the government’s responsibility to create a Green New Deal.

The resolution, which is not a law but a nonbinding symbol of congressional sentiment, says the government should create a Green New Deal that can be completed via ten-year national mobilization. It urges the country to meet its power demand through zero-emission energy sources and prescribes an overhaul of transportation to remove pollution by investing in zero-emission vehicles, public transit, and high-speed rail. 

The original Green New Deal package, first introduced in 2019, sought to have the U.S. take a “leading role” in helping the planet achieve net-zero emissions by 2050 by reducing the use of fossil fuels and creating high-paying green energy jobs. Meanwhile, the new agenda goes further, as it proposes a measure aimed at addressing pollution in low-income communities and another targeting cities with lead in their water supply, according to CBS News.

The reintroduction comes two years after the Green New Deal was first proposed, when it received backing from progressives but was met with fierce opposition from Republicans. At that time, the resolution was squashed by a cloture vote in the then GOP-controlled Senate.

However, while Democrats only controlled the House at that time, the party now holds the House, the presidency, and a slim majority in the evenly divided Senate, with the tie-breaking vote of Vice President Kamala Harris.

The Green New Deal agenda still faces an uphill battle on Capitol Hill, however, as some moderate Democrats have not gotten on board with the progressive plan. Even with complete Democratic support, the measure would need backing from ten Republican senators to advance.

Even President Biden has not been forthcoming in his support for the Green New Deal, saying just that it is a “crucial framework,” but not giving it his full stamp of approval.

Markey and Ocasio-Cortez on Tuesday will also introduce a Civilian Climate Corps bill to create jobs by conserving and restoring public lands, boosting resilience and increasing reforestation — an effort that Biden has supported. In January, the president issued an executive order calling for a plan to create a group by that name.

The Corps would exist “to mobilize the next generation of conservation and resilience workers and maximize the creation of accessible training opportunities and good jobs,” the order said.

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