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Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Ed Markey Reintroduce the Green New Deal

In the two years since they last introduced the resolution, it has become a crucial goal post in climate politics.

Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez speaks during a press conference to reintroduce the Green New Deal in front of the U.S. Capitol in Washington, D.C., on April 20, 2021.

Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-New York) and Sen. Ed Markey (D-Massachusetts) are set to reintroduce the Green New Deal (GND) resolution in Congress on Tuesday. The lawmakers last introduced the legislation two years ago.

“For the past two years, it has been proven that the Green New Deal isn’t just a resolution, it is a revolution,” said Markey at an event unveiling the legislation.

The reintroduction comes during what Ocasio-Cortez has dubbed “Green New Deal week,” as she and fellow progressives introduce GND-related legislation ahead of President Joe Biden’s climate summit beginning on Thursday.

“For so long, our movement towards a sustainable future has been divided with really just this false notion that we have to choose between our planet and our economy,” said Ocasio-Cortez at the unveiling. “And we decided to come together in sweeping legislation that not only rejects that notion, but creates a plan for 20 million union jobs in the United States of America to rebuild our infrastructure.”

The lawmakers last introduced the GND resolution in 2019. It got over 100 co-sponsors in the House and 14 co-sponsors in the Senate, but it never got a vote in either chamber. Ocasio-Cortez says that this year’s version of the resolution has new sponsors.

Though the legislation was criticized and falsely smeared by the right, Markey pointed out on Tuesday that legislators like Representatives Jamaal Bowman (D-New York) and Mondaire Jones (D-New York) and Senator Markey himself ran on the Green New Deal and won their elections.

“We made bold climate action not only a voting issue, we made it a winning, political issue. And now, all of these leaders are working to pass bold, visionary legislation,” said Markey. “Climate justice is finally taking over the halls of the United States Congress.” Markey says that the Green New Deal has shifted goalposts on climate for not only the U.S. government but also for other countries and for companies within the U.S. making climate goals.

The Green New Deal resolution has called for a host of climate, energy and economic proposals like a federal jobs guarantee and is rooted around justice for frontline and oppressed communities. Ocasio-Cortez, as well as the many environmental organizations like the Sunrise Movement that are proponents of the legislation, say that an all-encompassing plan such as the GND will be essential to tackling the climate crisis in an equitable and just way.

“It is going to be an all hands on deck approach, and we refuse to leave any community behind in the process,” Ocasio-Cortez said. “We refuse to allow, for example, an economy that goes from oil barons to solar barons. That’s what we’re not going to do.”

“Because what we’re going to do is we’re going to transition to a 100 percent carbon-free economy that is more unionized, more just, more dignified, and guarantees more health care and housing than we ever have before. That’s our goal,” Ocasio-Cortez continued.

Markey and Ocasio-Cortez are also introducing legislation for a Civilian Climate Corps on Tuesday. The Civilian Climate Corps hearkens back to the original New Deal’s Civilian Conservation Corps and is a progressive proposal that has been adopted by Biden. As one of his first actions in office, Biden signed an executive order to create a Civilian Climate Corps to create jobs for careers in climate- and environment-related work.

Tuesday’s proposals come on the heels of two other GND proposals that Ocasio-Cortez, alongside other progressive lawmakers, introduced on Monday.

Ocasio-Cortez and Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vermont) reintroduced legislation on Monday for a Green New Deal for Public Housing. The bill would provide over $100 billion in investments in public housing over the next decade to make public housing safer for residents and more climate-friendly.

Ocasio-Cortez also teamed up with Rep. Cori Bush (D-Missouri) on Monday to introduce a plan to provide $1 trillion in federal funding to cities that are seeking to slash emissions and implement a Green New Deal. The plan is called the Green New Deal for Cities, and it specifically highlights funding for reparations for Black and Indigenous communities.

“We know that to fight climate change, we need to root out environmental injustice where we feel it every day: in our communities,” said Bush in a video promoting the legislation. Bush emphasized that the legislation is about addressing injustices like air and water pollution that disproportionately affect frontline neighborhoods.

The lawmakers are introducing the legislation at a time of great significance for the Democrats — since Democrats control Congress and the White House, it’s a crucial time to get climate-related initiatives passed. Progressives are hoping to nudge Biden and the Democratic caucus to the left with ambitious policy like the GND.

A proposal like the Green New Deal for Public Housing, for instance, calls for significantly more funding for public housing than the $40 billion Biden has proposed in his recent $2 trillion infrastructure bill.

Ocasio-Cortez has said that Biden’s infrastructure plan has elements of the Green New Deal and that Biden has adopted proposals by progressive climate advocates in the past, but that it’s still not big enough. “The size of it is disappointing,” she told NPR. Many other Democrats and climate activists have urged Biden to go bigger on his infrastructure plan.

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