by Chris White
Moderate Democrats who are working on getting reelected in a partisan environment are doing their best to keep a distance from the so-called Green New Deal.
Democratic Reps. Lauren Underwood of Illinois (pictured center), Henry Cuellar of Texas (pictured right) and Harley Rouda of California (pictured left) are keeping their distance from the GND as they campaign for reelection in Republican-leaning seats. Cuellar called the group supporting the measure “Justice Socialists.”
“As for the Green New Deal, I support aggressive action on climate, but the Green New Deal has other things in it including Medicare for All,” Underwood said at a town hall in November. “I support climate initiatives but not all the other initiatives.”
She is also among the moderate Democrats who are being pressured to buck their party’s push to impeach President Donald Trump.
Underwood has not responded to the Daily Caller News Foundation’s request for comment. Cuellar etched out a similar position but ramped up the rhetoric, calling GND supporters socialists who want to impede on Texas’s priorities.
“Well, first of all, I call them ‘Justice Socialists.’ They are socialists, no ifs and no buts about it,” Cuellar said during a Dec. 5 interview on C-SPAN. Justice Democrats “believe in a Green Deal,” he said, adding: “And in my area, for example, it would kill thousands of jobs.”
Rouda, for his part, said in an interview in April that Republicans are using the GND to distract lawmakers from a more important argument on climate change. He said that including a host of liberal wish list items into the GND was perhaps a no-go to help find a solution on climate change.
Other representatives who represent Republican areas are feeling the heat. The Sunrise Movement, which is broadly responsible for promoting the GND, pushed Democratic Kansas Rep. Sharice Davids on signing off on the legislation, which Democratic New York Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez sponsored.
Davids, who is up for reelection in 2020, indicated during a town hall meeting in March that she is not sold on the Ocasio-Cortez’s legislative proposal. Her position roiled activists.
“If for some reason you can’t [sign the Green New Deal], Rep. Davids — which I know you can — but if you can’t, then step aside,” Kiana Harris, a representative of Sunrise Movement KC, told reporters on Dec. 9.
Harris added: “We have 11 years. We do not have time to wait for politicians who can’t decide if they want to enter the ring with us and fight.” Former Vice President Al Gore suggested on Dec. 13 that Democrats should absolutely run on the Green New Deal, despite the political headwinds.
The GND is a “broad brushstroke, bold proclamation, the details of which are designed to be filled in later,” he told Politico. Republicans in the Senate torpedoed the activist-backed legislation in March as Democrats called the vote a dog-and-pony show. The GOP defeated the proposal 57-0; Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell called the bill a socialistic ploy designed to kill the economy.
The resolution called for “10-year national mobilizations” toward addressing climate change. A fact sheet published alongside the proposal said the plan would “mobilize every aspect of American society on a scale not seen since World War 2.”
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Chris White is a reporter at Daily Caller News Foundation.