By Chris White
The so-called Green New Deal gained a big backer Monday after Rep. Jim McGovern, D-Mass., tossed his support behind the idea to create a committee centered around climate change.
McGovern is propping up the idea first proposed by Rep.-elect Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, a New York Democrat, and backed by a slew of enthusiastic young environmentalists. However, starting a new committee designed to brainstorm ways of phasing out fossil fuels is facing major hurdles.
“We need real change. We need a select committee. We need a #GreenNewDeal. And we need to work together w/ all @HouseDemocrats Committees to make it work!” McGovern wrote in a tweet Monday.
His support also comes as lawmakers consider how the Green New Deal will affect older committees.
McGovern, the incoming House Rules Committee chair, also must haggle with the group propelling the deal. Reports show more than 140 young activists were arrested in demonstrations on Capitol Hill, where they targeted the offices of House Democratic leader Nancy Pelosi.
It’s unclear exactly how the select committee for a Green New Deal would function. Some veteran Democrats are criticizing the idea, calling it unnecessary given the existence of other committees designed to take on global warming.
“We’re saying this select committee can come up with ideas, but it will go through the committees of jurisdiction. There’s nothing wrong with that, this is how this process works,” incoming Energy and Commerce Chairman Frank Pallone, D-N.J., told demonstrators Monday on Capitol Hill.
Meanwhile, Ocasio-Cortez is describing her fight against climate change as a Trojan horse for pushing social justice issues.
“[W]e can use the transition to 100 percent renewable energy as the vehicle to truly deliver and establish economic, social, and racial justice in the United States of America,” she said during a Dec. 5 panel discussion alongside Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt.
Pelosi, for her part, wants to elevate climate change issues once Democrats officially take over in 2019, but Ocasio-Cortez and a handful of other left-leaning Democrats believe lawmakers are not moving quick enough to nix fossil fuels.
“This is going to be the Great Society, the moonshot, the civil rights movement of our generation,” Ocasio-Cortez said during the panel discussion, which also featured far-left activist Bill McKibben. “This is the mechanism through which we can really deliver justice to communities that have been underserved. The water in Flint is still dirty.”
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