Republican leader says U.S. Senate will vote on Green New Deal

FILE PHOTO: Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) speaks after a Republican policy lunch on Capitol Hill in Washington, U.S., January 29, 2019. REUTERS/Joshua Roberts

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Republican Senate Leader Mitch McConnell said on Tuesday that the U.S. Senate will vote on a “Green New Deal” introduced by Democrats that seeks to eliminate U.S. greenhouse gas emissions within a decade.

“I’ve noted with great interest the Green New Deal, and we’re going to be voting on that in the Senate, give everybody an opportunity to go on record and see how they feel about the Green New Deal,” McConnell said.

The document introduced last week marked the first formal attempt by lawmakers to define legislation to create big government-led investments in clean energy and infrastructure to transition the U.S. economy away from fossil fuels.

Republicans have been quick to criticize the initiative, unveiled by rising political star Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and Senator Edward Markey.

The administration of President Donald Trump does not believe action on climate change is necessary and is focused on increasing production of oil, gas and coal on federal and private land.

The plan outlines some of the most aggressive climate goals ever put forward by Democratic lawmakers and clashes dramatically with the Trump administration’s efforts to advance domestic oil, gas and coal production by rolling back environmental protections.

“The first question Republicans should answer is what is their answer on climate change, what are they going to put forward,” Senate Democratic leader Chuck Schumer said.

The name, Green New Deal, references the New Deal of the 1930s that President Franklin Roosevelt implemented to aid Americans suffering in the Great Depression by embarking on huge government-led infrastructure projects.

Reporting by Amanda Becker and Valerie Volcovici; writing by Doina Chiacu; editing by Jeffrey Benkoe and Lisa Shumaker

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