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Senate stymies Green New Deal as Democrats protest ‘sham’ vote

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Sen. Ed Markey, D-Mass., (R) and Sen. Jeff Merkley, D-Ore., speak at a press conference on the Green New Deal, on Capitol Hill on Tuesday. Photo by Kevin Dietsch/UPI | License Photo

March 26 (UPI) — The Senate on Tuesday blocked the Green New Deal, voting 57-0 against the Democratic proposal that aims to wean the United States off fossil fuels within 11 years.

All 53 Republican senators plus three Democrats and an Independent voted against the bill that has been described as an overhaul to U.S. energy and infrastructure industries to reduce carbon emissions and the effects of global warming.

The plan was all but assured to fail as it required 60 votes to pass and there are only 47 Democrats and Independents in the Chamber.

Forty-three Democrats voted “present” in protest and in a show of party unity against the Republican-forced procedural vote that was seen as a GOP move to divide Democrats prior to the 2020 election.

Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell scheduled the Tuesday vote so the public “will have the opportunity to learn precisely where each one of their senators stand on the ‘Green New Deal’: a radical, top-down socialist makeover of the entire U.S. economy,” Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell tweeted Monday.

McConnell said he wanted to highlight freshman Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez as a socialist with radical ideas that are emblematic of the Democratic Party.

“In recent months our nation has watched the Democratic Party take a sharp and abrupt left turn toward socialism,” McConnell said this month. “A flawed ideology that has been rejected time and again across the world is now driving the marquee policy proposals of the new House Democratic majority, and nothing encapsulates this as clearly as the huge, self-inflicted, national wound the Democrats are agitating for called the Green New Deal.”

Senate lawmakers will vote at 4 p.m. EDT.

Democratic Sen. Edward Markey, who worked with Ocasio-Cortez on the bill, called the Senate vote a “sham” during a rally Tuesday morning.

“They are calling a vote without hearings, without expert testimony, without any true discussion of the costs of climate inaction and the massive potential for clean energy job creation in our country. And that is because Sen. McConnell wants to sabotage the call for climate action,” he said.

“I’m for it, but I have no problem voting ‘present,'” Senate Democratic leader Chuck Schumer said.

However, Democrats say the GOP plan could backfire because it mocks an issue that’s become important to many voters.

“I think it’s a real stupid political move for them to show how cavalier they are about climate change by playing games with the Green New Deal,” said Democratic Connecticut Sen. Chris Murphy. “If they don’t like the Green New Deal, fine, put up your own idea. It smells so disingenuous, especially to young voters. I think it’s a really dumb move for them to mess around with this.”

Several Senate Democrats who co-sponsored the plan are running for president in 2020, including Kamala Harris of California, Kirsten Gillibrand of New YorkElizabeth Warren of Massachusetts, Cory Booker of New Jersey and Amy Klobuchar of Minnesota.

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