WASHINGTON (CN) – In a rushed vote that Democrats slammed as disingenuous, the Senate on Tuesday soundly rejected the Green New Deal, an ambitious plan to tackle climate change and create jobs in renewable energy.
While all 53 Republican senators voted on party lines, most Democrats decided to vote “present” to the resolution at issue rather than take a stance at all. The final count stood at 57-0, with 43 senators voting present.
Senators Doug Jones of Alabama, Joe Manchin of West Virginia and Kyrsten Sinema of Arizona were the Democrats that joined their dissenting GOP colleagues along with Independent Senator Angus King from Maine.
Leading up to the vote, Democrats admonished Republicans for apparent “show vote” tactics meant to push Democrats to accept – without discussion or amendment – what Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., has called a “socialist wish list” that would “pull the emergency brake on the U.S. economy because it isn’t ‘green’ enough.”
On the floor before the vote, Minority Leader Chuck Schumer of New York echoed the Democratic sentiment that compelled his colleagues’ votes, calling the GOP’s hasty vote “a trick and a sham.”
Schumer continued that climate change is no joke at all, but a crisis that must be addressed “quickly and boldly” through a special commission on the issue, similar to the House Select Committee on the Climate Crisis.
“All we are asking for is not a sham,” Schumer said on the floor Tuesday, “but rather a real discussion and real debate.”
The GOP tactic was a divide-and-conquer scheme, aiming to push more establishment Democrats away from the ideas of their progressive colleagues and highlighting divides in the party. Several Democrats running for president in 2020 have already thrown their support behind the Green New Deal.
But some Democrats argued that rushing through a bill for climate change just to score political points will actually ostracize voters from the GOP.
Democrat Senator Chris Murphy of Connecticut told NPR how “dumb” it is for Republicans to “mess around” with a vote regarding climate change.
“If they don’t like the Green New Deal, fine, put up your own idea. It smells so disingenuous, especially to young voters,” he said.
The Green New Deal’s co-creator, Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, D-N.Y., previously said she wasn’t worried about a procedural vote like this given the rush, and told reporters Tuesday’s vote is an example of a “superficial approach to government.”
The bill is the first major piece of legislation brought forth to curb carbon emissions and tackle climate change. It was proposed by Ocasio-Cortez and Senator Ed Markey, D-Mass., and focuses on creating jobs and boosting the economy while slashing U.S. reliance on fossil fuels.