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Senate Votes down Ocasio-Cortez's Green New Deal with 43 Democrats Voting Present

Junie Sihlangu
Mar 27, 2019
10:27 A.M.

Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez's Green New Deal was rejected by the Senate on Tuesday. Despite her being a Democrat, none of her fellow party members voted “yes.”

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Forty-three Democrats chose to vote “present” instead, while 57 Republicans voted “no” to the policy that intends to tackle climate change issues.

Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez's Green New Deal had zero senators voting “yes” for it. The progressive Green New Deal is Ocasio-Cortez’s signature policy initiative against climate change.

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She defended the outcome by arguing that she’d encouraged the Democratic senators to vote “present” instead of “yes.” Taking to Twitter she wrote:

“I encouraged them to vote present, along w/ others. McConnell tried to rush the #GreenNewDeal straight to the floor without a hearing. The real question we should be asking: Why does the Senate GOP refuse to hold any major hearings on climate change?”

Ocasio-Cortez further added:

“The GOP’s climate delaying is costing us lives + destroying communities. Iowa, Nebraska & many in the Midwest are catastrophically flooded right now, in one of the 1st major climate change disasters of 2019. A #GreenNewDeal urges us to pursue a plan on the scale of the problem.”

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The Democratic rep also slammed Senate Majority Leader and Kentucky Republican Mitch McConnell for holding a “sham” vote on the matter. The policy had a non-binding resolution which meant it had no force of law.

It required 60 votes to advance it in the legislative process. However, Democrats only had 47 votes in their corner with no one voting “yes,” 57 voting “no,” and 43 voting “present.”

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Democratic Senators Joe Manchin of West Virginia, Kyrsten Sinema of Arizona, and Doug Jones of Alabama all voted “no.” Independent Senator Angus King of Maine also voted with them.

Before voting began, Democrats and Republicans got into a bitter exchange of words on the Senate floor. Senator Mike Lee gave a floor speech where he made fun of Ocasio-Cortez’s signature program.

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Lee even used ridiculous images for his presentation including one of “Aquaman” riding a seahorse, to make his point. On Twitter, Ocasio-Cortez slammed him saying: “If this guy can be Senator, you can do anything.”

Adding an emoji of a laughing face, the Democratic rep wrote:

“GOP Senators are using their Congressional allowances to print Aquaman posters for themselves to argue that a #GreenNewDeal saving our nation from climate change is a 'waste of money.”

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Speaking about the policy, McConnell labeled it "a socialist makeover of the entire US economy." Senator John Cornyn, a Republican from Texas, said: "The Green New Deal is chockful of utopian ideas but completely devoid of concrete plans to implement any of its overreaching policies."

He labeled it as a "radical environmental policy" that included "Medicare for all, free college, and guaranteed jobs." Cornyn joked, "You might as well throw in free beer and pizza.”

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By voting “present”, Democrats allowed their votes do not count towards or against passage. However, their votes contribute to the quorum, meaning Ocasio-Cortez doesn’t have a missing vote on her record.

Democrats weren’t against the policy but they were unwilling to vote for or against it before it was written into final legislative language.

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Ocasio-Cortez’s 14-page policy is a list of ideas and ideals that offer new climate change regulations that could run to $1 trillion. In part, it wants the government to take a stronger position on everything from cutting carbon emissions to giving every American a job.

The policy also wants the government to work with family farmers and retrofit every building in the country.

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