A Republican congressman on Thursday likened the ideas behind the Green New Deal proposal — a sweeping environmental package backed by liberal Democrats — as “tantamount to genocide” for some Americans.
“For many people who live in the West but also in rural and urban areas — the ideas behind the Green New Deal are tantamount to genocide — that may be an overstatement but not by a whole lot,” Rep. Rob Bishop, a Republican from Utah, told reporters during a news conference on Capitol Hill.
Top House Republican committee members have penned a letter to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, calling on the top House Democrat to hold public hearings in relevant committees on the Green New Deal. Though the letter admits that “a full analysis of the Green New Deal has not been completed,” Republicans are concerned of the effects it will have on energy prices, home prices, jobs and health care costs.
“Here is what the authors and co-sponsors of the Green New Deal aren’t telling the American people. First, it is a bad deal for the working families and the low income — many of the constituents in my district,” House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy said in the news conference. He cited concerns that the Green New Deal may threaten “to throw away groundbreaking innovation that has already set the decline in American greenhouse gas emissions like fracking a natural gas revolution, solar and wind power, electric cars.”
Democratic lawmakers, including Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez of New York, unveiled the Green New Deal, as a 14-page resolution last month . The plan envisions a shift to 100% renewable and zero-emission energy sources, and calls for the creation of millions of new high-wage jobs to help wipe out poverty. The resolution includes a full range of progressive policy priorities: Providing universal healthcare and affordable housing, ensuring that all jobs have union protections and family-sustaining wages, and keeping the business environment free of monopolistic competition.
Supporters of the deal have been reluctant to put a specific price tag on the cost of the sweeping proposal, citing that much of the specific implementation of the policies it advocates are yet to be hammered out. However, its opponents have repeatedly mocked the cost of such a proposal. One analysis by the conservative American Action Forum of another, similar plan pegged the regulatory burden at about $1 trillion , before any new investments.
At the Republican news conference, Rep. Mike Conaway called the Green New Deal “completely out of touch,” while Rep. Sam Graves of Missouri dubbed it “fantasy land.”
Graves, who is the top Republican on the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, used the failed high-speed rail project in California, recently a topic of the President’s Twitter feed, as an example of an unrealistic part of the Green New Deal’s proposals to replace aviation travel with high-speed rail travel, “which has yet to work in the United States.”
McCarthy was asked by a reporter to name the most significant piece of climate legislation that House Republicans are working on right now but McCarthy declined to name specific ideas.
“There’s a number of them introduced, gladly walk you through a whole proposal of them. If you talk to Garret Graves as the ( top Republican on the House Select Committee on the Climate Crisis ) … He’s got a great proposal. I will come back,” he said before he took off for votes.
At her own news conference, Pelosi mocked Republican criticisms of the Green New Deal, particularly Republican claims that such policies would raise health care costs, and praised the deal’s supporters for highlighting the issue of climate change.
“I do want to salute the green deal in this respect, not the particulars because we have to take it one at a time, but in the respect of, again, raising the profile and the issue, which is a challenge generationally to preserve this planet,” Pelosi said.