Many Congressional Democrats are now supporting a new plan by Representative-elect Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY) to address climate change. The 29 year-old Ocasio-Cortez and her supporters are demanding that the House create a Select Climate Committee. They also want Nancy Pelosi and other members of House leadership to back a “Green New Deal” plan.
One provision of the plan is that the new group would only include members who refuse to accept campaign contributions from the fossil fuel industry. It also calls for Democrats to formulate a climate action plan that sets a timetable and a goal for a 100 percent renewable energy economy.
On Saturday Ocasio-Cortez asked her supporters to contact their congressional representative on Twitter and “call them on Monday, too.”
9 Reps have already signed on. Call & @ them too to thank them and say you support the move.
Positive reinforcement goes a LONG way, trust me. pic.twitter.com/uRn3oi97tA
— Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (@Ocasio2018) November 17, 2018
On Sunday evening, Rep. Jared Huffman (D-CA) became the 10th member of the Democratic Party caucus to back the proposal. Huffman posted a supportive tweet:
“I welcome the energy/urgency from @Ocasio2018 & @sunrisemvmt in proposing #GreenNewDeal. I support that & will also keep working on multiple specific, ambitious climate bills I’ve been championing for years. Let’s work together to meet this environmental/economic/moral imperative.”
And Ocasio-Cortez immediately responded:
“Thank you for your leadership, @JaredHuffman!
Your expertise, experience, and courage to take on fossil fuels is exactly what a Select Committee on a #GreenNewDeal needs. @sunrisemvmt – add one more champion to the list!
& THANK YOU to ALL voters communicating w/ your reps!”
Thank you for your leadership, @JaredHuffman!
& THANK YOU to ALL voters communicating w/ your reps! https://t.co/Uz5P5DIwyi
— Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (@Ocasio2018) November 19, 2018
Civil Rights icon Rep. John Lewis of Georgia has joined the new group and has pledged to support Ocasio-Cortez’s proposed plan. Lewis is the most high-profile lawmaker to back Ocasio-Cortez’s proposal for the Green New Deal.
Sunrise Movement, an environmental activist group, said that Democratic Reps. Earl Blumenauer (Ore.), Carolyn Maloney (N.Y.), Rep. Ro Khanna (D-Calif.), and José Serrano (N.Y.), have joined the movement, along with newly elected Reps. Joe Neguse (Colo.), Deb Haaland (D-N.M.), Ilhan Omar (D-Minn.), Rashida Tlaib (D-Mich.) and Ayanna Pressley (Mass.).
Varshini Prakash, the founder of Sunrise Movement, said in a statement that the group is “honored” to have Lewis’s support for the plan.
“Few can better understand the relentless work to push our nation to achieve its highest ideals than John Lewis,” Prakash said. “He knows that disrupting the status quo is how change happens. His activism and integrity inspire us to believe we can win.”
Last week, Ocasio-Cortez joined members of the Sunrise Movement and Justice Democrats for a sit-in outside of House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi’s (D-Calif.) office on Capitol Hill, where they called for immediate action on climate change.
Ocasio-Cortez and other climate change activists have been pressing Pelosi and other senior House Democrats to take strong action. They have said that current House proposals don’t go far enough and are demanding that leadership push for a much more ambitious agenda to address climate change.
Last week there was a closed-door meeting of House Democrats and it was reported by different news agencies that Ocasio-Cortez got in a “fight” with a House committee chair over the issue of climate change.
Over the weekend the young Congresswoman-elect from New York City said that progressives should “primary” older Democrats in Congress as a way to challenge them to move the party more to the left.
In addition to transitioning to a 100 percent renewable energy economy, the proposed Green New Deal proposes:
- building a national “smart” grid,
- making “green” technology a major export for the U.S. and
- decarbonizing the manufacturing and agricultural industries.
Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez was elected to Congress less than two weeks ago and already she has challenged House leadership and changed their agenda. As she continues to push for action, and to promote her progressive ideas, she may end up changing a lot more than the House agenda, however. She may end up changing the world.
I am a lifelong Democrat with a passion for social justice and progressive issues. I have degrees in writing, economics and law from the University of Iowa.