Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer plans on proposing a special climate change committee, and will prepare climate change-related legislation in case Democrats win control of the Senate and White House in 2020.
“This is the first time Democrats have decided to go on offense on climate change,” Schumer said of his plans to The New York Times.
However, he said “it’s going to take us a little while to come up with a consensus that works” when speaking about specific legislation.
Schumer’s moves come as Democrats have been mostly on the defensive over climate change legislation they’ve already introduced. The Green New Deal — spearheaded by Democratic New York Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez — suffered an embarrassing roll-out and earned criticism from Republicans and Democrats alike.
Ocasio-Cortez’s team accidentally published a draft summary of the Green New Deal on her website, which included provisions such as economic security for those “unwilling to work.” Authors also edited a section about the problem of methane emissions from farting cows.
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell wants to bring the Green New Deal up for a vote in the Senate, forcing numerous Democratic presidential candidates to go on record in support the resolution.
“Do our Democratic colleagues really support this fantasy novel masquerading as public policy?” McConnell asked on the Senate floor. “Do they really want to completely upend Americans’ lives to enact some grand socialist vision?”
Schumer, however, will protect Democrats from an embarrassing resolution vote by simply having everyone in his caucus vote “present” on the Green New Deal.
The New York Democrat will then eventually counter with climate change-related legislation of his own, likely a more palatable version than the resolution devised by Ocasio-Cortez. Schumer said this strategy — along with hammering Republicans for inaction on global warming — will energize millennial voters ahead of the 2020 election.
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