In a move motivated more by politics than attempts to find legislative solutions, Senate Republicans put the Green New Deal up for a vote on Tuesday, and the results were unsurprising. All Republicans (and a few Democrats) voted “no,” and the rest of the Democrats simply marked their vote as “present.”
As expected, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell brought up a procedural vote on the non-binding Green New Deal resolution. Democrats have been calling the vote a “sham,” and largely refused to vote on it. Democratic Senators Joe Manchin (W.Va.), Kyrsten Sinema (Ariz.) and Doug Jones (Ala.) all voted no, along with Independent Angus King (Maine).
The rest of the Democrats voted “present,” along with Independent Sen. Bernie Sanders (Vt.). The Democratic stance on the vote seemed to be summed up by Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.) in a tweet earlier today:
Today's #GreenNewDeal vote is a partisan stunt to side-step needed debate on climate action, and give Republicans cover to put oil lobby checks over our kids. I've come to expect nothing less from @senatemajldr.
I'll be voting "present." I don't play ball with bad-faith farces.
— Kirsten Gillibrand (@SenGillibrand) March 26, 2019
The Senate discussed the Green New Deal before the vote. Some good points were raised regarding climate change, renewable energy, energy jobs, and electric vehicles. But at times, unsurprisingly, it got pretty ridiculous:
"The solution to climate change is not this unserious resolution…the solution to so many of our problems at all times and in all places is to fall in love, get married, and have some kids." –@SenMikeLee on @AOC and @SenMarkey's Green New Deal
This is a real quote. pic.twitter.com/fbMzgwUMxA
— Waleed Shahid (@_waleedshahid) March 26, 2019
After some more discussion, the Senators went through with the vote.
It’s sad how quickly all of this became dumb posturing, but no one’s too surprised. McConnell hoped to get a bunch of Democrats to vote yes so he could say they support a plan that’s “too expensive,” or too “socialist,” or “too ambitious” or what have you.
The resolution has no dollar amounts. It is a broad set of goals. It is modeled after the New Deal, which was also “expensive” — yet pulled America out of the Great Depression and catapulted this country into a century of world economic dominance. Republicans know the American populace wants actions that will reduce pollution and increase public health, and they are attempting to kill debate on these topics.
The Democrats voted “present” for their own political reasons — to present a (mostly) united front, and to protest this particular vote as a sham. Part of us kind of wishes the Dems would have called their bluff and voted yes, but we understand the idea behind what they did. Republicans will attempt to show this result as a lack of support for the Green New Deal in general.
But this is far from over. Americans, by and large, support most of the goals presented in the Green New Deal. So where does the debate go from here?
We hope for real discussion on the Green New Deal — a close look at each goal, and an honest examination into the best ways to approach these goals. If this vote somehow prompts further debate on green energy and climate change policies at all, that’s great, though we’re not entirely optimistic. We’re just hoping we can get some actual solutions out of this, and some real action. Instead of meaningless political posturing.
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