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Rep. Rob Bishop Photo: Leah Hogsten/Salt Lake Tribune
The GOP response to the Green New Deal (GND) has been largely negative–well, that’s an understatement considering that Rep. Rob Bishop (R-Utah), the ranking member of the House Natural Resources Committee, recently called the ideas behind the Green New Deal “tantamount to genocide.” The main argument from Republicans has been that implementation of the GND would be far too costly and many lawmakers have been throwing around the figure that it would cost U.S. taxpayers $93 trillion, a number that has been completely made up by a conservative think tank and is not based on any sort of policy analysis (as the Green New Deal is not actually a bill yet that’s capable of being analyzed for specific policy prescriptions).
As Politico reported, “the number originated with a report by a conservative think tank, American Action Forum, that made huge assumptions about how Democrats would implement their plan. But the $93 trillion figure does not appear anywhere in the think tank’s report — and AAF President Douglas Holtz-Eakin confessed he has no idea how much the Green New Deal would cost.” This hasn’t stopped Congressional Republicans from using this made up number and also calling for House Speaker Nancy Pelosi to hold hearings on the Green New Deal as they seek to cast the progressive policy as bad for poor Americans, as Axios’ Amy Harder explained in her column yesterday.
Why This Matters: So far the Green New Deal is not an actual piece of legislation, rather’s it’s a simple, non-binding resolution and thus it hasn’t been subjected to scoring by the CBO. The GND is currently a set of ideas, a manifesto of sorts, of the types of programs needed to transition to a low-carbon future. And while it will likely take a significant investment by the government and public sectors, the cost of inaction on climate change is staggering. Republican leaders haven’t presented an alternative policy that could drastically reduce carbon emissions at the rate that scientists say we need in order to avoid suffering the worst repercussions of climate change. Republicans are opposed to the Green New Deal because of its progressive agenda. Meanwhile, moderates in the party say that they’re working on alternative legislation, but the reality is, most Democratic voters likely won’t find bold enough. They believe, like the architects behind the GND, that this is a time for bold ideas and immediate action. We’ve lost the luxury of incrementalism. Politically speaking, the real battle over the GND will be decided at the ballot box. If Democrats can effectively message the GND, make it a top priority issue and mobilize voters to turn-out, then they can gain enough ground in the Senate to viably act on the GND. If they can’t do that, it’s hard to see the GND moving forward in any meaningful way.
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