House Republicans are ramping up their opposition to the Green New Deal, invoking increasingly dire rhetoric as the proposal gains prominence. In a press conference on Thursday, several top Republicans called for Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) to direct all House committees to hold hearings to discuss the details of the ambitious climate action proposal.
Calling the Green New Deal resolution a “fantasy-land proposal” and “tantamount to genocide,” House Republicans said they want to have a public debate on the plan in order to “pull the curtain back.”
The resolution was introduced last month by Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY) and Sen. Ed Markey (D-MA). The proposal mandates rapid and widespread decarbonization of the U.S. economy, along with universal health care and a federal jobs guarantee. Calls for climate action have become more prominent since the November midterm elections, but Ocasio-Cortez’s Green New Deal — which has strong support from youth activists — has now forced lawmakers to grapple with climate change as a top political issue.
Since then, conservatives have criticized the plan as a socialist plot that will end air travel, wipe out all the cows, take away Americans’ ice cream, and threaten the entire U.S. economy. “Not only do we believe this is unrealistic, we fear it could permanently put the American dream out of reach from millions of Americans,” said Rep. Greg Walden (R-OR), who sits on the Energy and Commerce Committee.
“The socialist left” has taken over the Democratic party, Walden said. And it is time for Pelosi to show where the party stands, he argued. “Frankly, House Democrats are afraid to have this debated in public and in committees,” Walden said, “[because] they know the sensible proposals Republicans are putting forward are better.”
Repeatedly, the Republican lawmakers called for Pelosi to direct every single committee to hold a hearing on the Green New Deal. This is because it is a “vague document we’re trying to assess,” said Rep. Frank Lucas (R-OR), who sits on the Agriculture Committee. Hearings are needed, he continued, “so we can get to the facts, so we can determine the validity or lack of validity of the proposals. We’re here for the folks back home.”
The proposal “must have thorough public scrutiny before Congress takes any additional action,” echoed Rep. Mike Conaway (R-TX).
“The ideas behind the Green New Deal are tantamount to genocide. That might be an overstatement but not by a whole lot,” Rep. Rob Bishop (R-UT) said during Thursday’s press conference.
Pressed by Axios to explain how the Green New Deal is akin to genocide, Bishop said, “I’m an ethnic. I’m a westerner.”
According to the United Nations convention, genocide is defined as “acts committed with intent to destroy, in whole or in part, a national, ethnical, racial or religious group.” The Green New Deal as proposed, however, seeks to put vulnerable and minority communities at the forefront of climate solutions and decision making.
“If you’re going to take this seriously we want to have serious discussions,” Bishop continued. “If you’re going forward with this theoretical idea let’s actually discuss what the details are.”