Feb 27, 2019 - Energy & Environment

Senate Democrats look to play climate offense

Chuck Schumer pointing his finger

Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.). Photo: Alex Wong/Getty Images

Senate Democrats are taking new steps to try and parry GOP attacks on the Green New Deal after a troubled rollout that has revealed fissures in their ranks.

Why it matters: Democrats are seeking to coalesce around a strategy as Republicans look to put them in a tough political spot with the GND. The GND has uncertain support among Senate Democrats despite co-sponsorship from a half-dozen of them running for president.

What's new: Democratic leaders moved on 2 fronts yesterday...

1. All Democrats are signing onto a resolution stating human-cased climate change is real and deserves "immediate action," per a leadership source.

2. Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer went after White House plans to create a new panel that would question consensus views on climate science.

  • "I’m announcing that if the Trump Administration moves forward with this fake climate panel, we will be introducing legislation to defund it," Schumer said on the floor.

What they're saying: Yesterday, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell told reporters in the Capitol that he planned to bring up the GND at some point before the August break.

  • He chided Democrats over reports of plans to vote "present" on the measure.
  • “The only question I would ask is, if this is such a popular thing to do and so necessary, why would one want to dodge the vote,” he said.

The intrigue: Per Politico, Democrats hope to put pressure on Republicans facing re-election with the resolution on acknowledging climate change.

  • "Targets could include moderates like Sens. Cory Gardner (R-Colo.) and Susan Collins (R-Maine), both up for reelection in 2020," notes Politico, which first reported on the effort yesterday.
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