How Will Members Of Congress Respond To The Green New Deal?

Feb 7, 2019
Originally published on February 8, 2019 1:13 am
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STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

More than 50 lawmakers are co-sponsoring the Green New Deal resolution, which we have published first at npr.org. NPR political editor Domenico Montanaro has been reading, and he's on the line. Good morning, Domenico.

DOMENICO MONTANARO, BYLINE: Hey there, Steve.

INSKEEP: What do you see?

MONTANARO: Well, you know, the - this Green New Deal is obviously something that Democrats want to be able to try to push at least some on the left because it does frame a blueprint of something that's big and bold and broad - to be able to try to break through this sort of gridlock of what to do about climate change. They know that there's something big that has to happen, but nothing has been able to be agreed to.

INSKEEP: Although this doesn't actually do any of those things. It just sets a framework for what ought to be done.

MONTANARO: Right. There aren't a whole lot of specifics of how to get there, and it's certainly not something that Democratic leadership is going to want to try to put on the floor to try to put moderates in a potentially precarious position because, remember, Democrats did win the House on the backs of moderates because of a lot of those suburban districts that were held by Republicans previously.

INSKEEP: When you're talking about moderates, help me understand what you're talking about here, Domenico. You're saying that - I don't know - Texas Democrats, who gained some ground in the last election, might be a little worried about signing on to the idea of phasing out fossil fuels. That sort of thing?

MONTANARO: Well, and that this costs trillions and trillions of dollars. I mean, the fact is that people want to know how much their energy bill is going to be each month. And that's, frankly, as you know, the biggest thing that you can think about. It's - well, how it affects your paycheck and your pocketbook. And if you have extra money on hand, that's one thing.

But figuring out how to actually pay for something like this - and as you talked to Congresswoman Ocasio-Cortez, she didn't have a lot of ideas on how this would actually be paid for aside from taxes and deficit spending. And deficit spending - obviously something that Democrats, like you pointed out, have been critical of Republicans on in some of their tax cuts.

INSKEEP: Very briefly, what struck your ear, more broadly, as you listened to this lawmaker talking about rediscovering the power of public imagination, as she put it?

MONTANARO: She's going to have to figure out a political strategy because real change - for example, when President Obama was in office, when LBJ was in office to enact the Great Society measures or Obamacare - came from having numbers and assembling coalitions. And that's something she's going to have to learn how to do.

INSKEEP: Domenico, thanks very much for the insight. Really appreciate it.

MONTANARO: You're welcome.

INSKEEP: That's NPR's Domenico Montanaro. And he speaks on this day, when some Democrats will release a Green New Deal resolution.

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