Senate Republicans Tried to Mock Democrats for the Green New Deal. Then Mike Lee Pulled Out His Charts.

“This is the real solution to climate change, babies”

CSPAN

Freshman congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.) has inspired Republicans to talk about climate change, albeit not in the most productive way. When Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) forced a vote on the Green New Deal resolution on Tuesday as part of his efforts to brand all Democrats as socialists or sow division within their ranks, most of the focus remained on how Democrats would respond to the bad-faith ploy. 

Instead, Democrats decided to vote “present” on Tuesday adopting a strategy similar to their approach last year when House Republicans brought a pro-ICE resolution to a vote. This show of unanimity included Senator Ed Markey (D-Mass.), the Green New Deal resolution’s sponsor.

In fact, there isn’t a Green New Deal yet, beyond a framework, a name, and some very ambitious targets: Slashing greenhouse gas emissions to zero in a decade and guaranteeing jobs and fair wages. But it’s never too early for the war over the narrative to start. More moderate Green New Deal critics often complain that it goes too far on policy matters like nuclear energy, which the resolution did not address at all. And conservatives charge it will take away American livelihoods, cows, and air planes. 

Remember: Republicans have no plan for confronting climate change. Few national Republican politicians will even admit that it is a problem, let alone propose policy options for how to slash greenhouse gasses and prepare for the future. So while the Green New Deal debate has forced Democratic presidential contenders and congressional leaders into debating serious choices over policy, the Senate Republicans (with cues from President Trump) treat climate change like a joke.

Consider Sen. Mike Lee (R-Utah) and his contribution to the debate today. 

Republicans have repeatedly characterized the Green New Deal as “ridiculous.” In keeping with the light-hearted attitude to sea-level rise and existential threats, Lee showed a series of charts to show just how “ridiculous” he considers the Green New Deal to be. “There isn’t a single serious idea in here,” he said.

“This image has as much to do with overcoming communism in the 20th Century as the Green New Deal has to do with overcoming climate change in the 21st,” he explained.

Swapping charts, he continued, “This is the real solution to climate change, babies…By having more children, you’re making your nation more populous, boosting its capacity to solve climate change.”

In a rally Tuesday morning with the activists of Sunrise Movement before the Green New Deal vote, Senator Ed Markey (D-Mass.) called McConnell’s move a “sham vote.” Republicans, he said, “have no plan to fight climate change.” 

Ocasio-Cortez had her own takeaway from Lee’s performance. 

 

More Mother Jones reporting on Climate Desk

AN IMPORTANT UPDATE

We’re falling behind our online fundraising goals and we can’t sustain coming up short on donations month after month. Perhaps you’ve heard? It is impossibly hard in the news business right now, with layoffs intensifying and fancy new startups and funding going kaput.

The crisis facing journalism and democracy isn’t going away anytime soon. And neither is Mother Jones, our readers, or our unique way of doing in-depth reporting that exists to bring about change.

Which is exactly why, despite the challenges we face, we just took a big gulp and joined forces with The Center for Investigative Reporting, a team of ace journalists who create the amazing podcast and public radio show Reveal.

If you can part with even just a few bucks, please help us pick up the pace of donations. We simply can’t afford to keep falling behind on our fundraising targets month after month.

Editor-in-Chief Clara Jeffery said it well to our team recently, and that team 100 percent includes readers like you who make it all possible: “This is a year to prove that we can pull off this merger, grow our audiences and impact, attract more funding and keep growing. More broadly, it’s a year when the very future of both journalism and democracy is on the line. We have to go for every important story, every reader/listener/viewer, and leave it all on the field. I’m very proud of all the hard work that’s gotten us to this moment, and confident that we can meet it.”

Let’s do this. If you can right now, please support Mother Jones and investigative journalism with an urgently needed donation today.

payment methods

AN IMPORTANT UPDATE

We’re falling behind our online fundraising goals and we can’t sustain coming up short on donations month after month. Perhaps you’ve heard? It is impossibly hard in the news business right now, with layoffs intensifying and fancy new startups and funding going kaput.

The crisis facing journalism and democracy isn’t going away anytime soon. And neither is Mother Jones, our readers, or our unique way of doing in-depth reporting that exists to bring about change.

Which is exactly why, despite the challenges we face, we just took a big gulp and joined forces with The Center for Investigative Reporting, a team of ace journalists who create the amazing podcast and public radio show Reveal.

If you can part with even just a few bucks, please help us pick up the pace of donations. We simply can’t afford to keep falling behind on our fundraising targets month after month.

Editor-in-Chief Clara Jeffery said it well to our team recently, and that team 100 percent includes readers like you who make it all possible: “This is a year to prove that we can pull off this merger, grow our audiences and impact, attract more funding and keep growing. More broadly, it’s a year when the very future of both journalism and democracy is on the line. We have to go for every important story, every reader/listener/viewer, and leave it all on the field. I’m very proud of all the hard work that’s gotten us to this moment, and confident that we can meet it.”

Let’s do this. If you can right now, please support Mother Jones and investigative journalism with an urgently needed donation today.

payment methods

We Recommend

Latest

Sign up for our free newsletter

Subscribe to the Mother Jones Daily to have our top stories delivered directly to your inbox.

Get our award-winning magazine

Save big on a full year of investigations, ideas, and insights.

Subscribe

Support our journalism

Help Mother Jones' reporters dig deep with a tax-deductible donation.

Donate