Democratic House Speaker Nancy Pelosi hopes it will go away, but the “Green New Deal” introduced Thursday to Congress is one of the most significant ventures in U.S. history, according to a probable 2020 presidential candidate.
The plan, which promises a job, housing, health care and much more for every American, is akin to fighting the Nazis, the Marshall Plan and the moon landing, said Sen. Cory Booker, D-N.J., at a campaign event Friday in Mason City, Iowa.
Booker said he co-sponsored the “Green New Deal” resolution introduced by Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, D-N.Y., and Sen. Ed Markey, D-Mass.
“We have to deal with this. Our planet is in peril, and we need to be bold,” he said.
The senator responded to critics who say it’s impractical and too expensive.
“If we used to govern our dreams that way, we would have never gone to the moon,” he said.
“We need to be bold again in America. We need to have dreams that other people say are impossible. We need to push the bounds of human potential. Because that is our history,” said Booker.
“When the planet has been in peril in the past, who came forward to save the earth from the scourge of Nazi and totalitarian regimes? We came forward. Who came forward to save the planet or continents from financial ruin? We came forward with the Marshall Plan.”
Vox.com reported Thursday that while the resolution has no chance of passing, Ocasio-Cortez and her allies are mobilizing a campaign to get House Democrats and 2020 presidential candidates to sign onto it.
They’re looking not for “vague platitudes of support,” but for wholehearted promotion of specific proposals, including a government-guaranteed job for all, a basic universal income, Medicare-for-all, phasing out air travel in the next 10 years, rebuilding every building in the country and targeting cow flatulence.
“Once this resolution is announced, there will be a really clear litmus test for what they support,” said Stephen O’Hanlon, spokesman for climate activist group Sunrise Movement, which held a sit-in outside House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s office.
Pelosi indicated her lack of enthusiasm for Ocasio-Cortez’s proposals by not appointing her to a new select committee on climate change that includes three of the Bronx congresswoman’s freshmen colleagues.
At her weekly press conference Thursday, she deflected two questions about her response to the proposal to remodel every building in the United States.
“I haven’t seen it,” she said before ending the conference.
‘Massive government intervention’
In an interview with NPR, Ocasio-Cortez admitted the drastic measures to counteract climate change would amount to a “massive government intervention” into Americans’ lives.
NPR’s Steve Inskeep asked if she is prepared to acknowledge that conservatives are “right” in saying her plan requires “massive government intervention.”
“It does, it does, yeah, I have no problem saying that,” Ocasio-Cortez quickly replied. “Why? Because we have tried their approach for 40 years. For 40 years we have tried to let the private sector take care of this. They said, ‘We got this, we can do this, the forces of the market are going to force us to innovate.'”
Inskeep observed the plan is “certainly a lot of money,” and she doesn’t “specify where it’s going to come from other than saying it will all pay for itself.”
“Yeah, I think the first move we need to do is kind of break the mistaken idea that taxes pay for 100 percent of government expenditure,” she replied.
“It’s just not how government expenditure works. We can recoup costs, but oftentimes you look at, for example, the GOP tax cut which I think was an irresponsible use of government expenditure, but government projects are often financed by a combination of taxes, deficit spending and other kinds of investments, you know, bonds and so on.”
Inskeep pointed out that “deficit spending is borrowing money that has to be paid back eventually through taxes.”
“Yeah, and I think — I think that is always the crux of it,” Ocasio-Cortez said. “So when we decide to go into the realm of deficit spending, we have to do so responsibly. We ask is this an investment or is this actually going to pay for itself?”