The Senate on Tuesday defeated a proposal to take up the Green New Deal as both parties shunned an opportunity to debate a comprehensive climate change plan offered by Democrats. Majority Republicans forced the vote as they seek to turn the Green New Deal into a wedge issue in the 2020 elections. Democrats called the GOP's move a "sham" and said it carries its own political risk by mocking an issue that a growing number of Americans care deeply about, the AP reports. Senators voted 57-0 against a procedural motion to take up the nonbinding resolution, which calls for the US to shift away from fossil fuels such as oil and coal and replace them with renewable sources such as wind and solar power. Four Democrats joined all 53 Senate Republicans in opposing the motion to take up the climate plan. Forty-three Democrats voted "present" to protest the GOP's action.
Democrats accused the GOP of quashing debate by blocking public hearings and expert testimony about the consequences of inaction on climate change. CNN calls the debate over the proposal "spirited" and "largely political." In shifting the US economy away from fossil fuels, the Green New Deal calls for virtual elimination by 2030 of greenhouse gas emissions responsible for global warming. The plan has broad support among Democratic activists, and all six of the 2020 presidential contenders serving in the Senate have signed on as co-sponsors, putting it at the forefront of the party's sprawling primary race. But, as CNN explains, even though the majority of Democrats support the ideas, they weren't willing to vote on the proposal before it was in final legislative form—and they were also concerned about getting caught in a Republican "trap" by backing a plan that Republicans then use against them during the 2020 campaign. USA Today reports there are no immediate plans to bring the Green New Deal to the House floor for a vote.
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