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Rep. Rob Bishop. Photo: Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call/Getty Images

A top Republican House lawmaker equated the Green New Deal with genocide on Thursday morning.

Driving the news: Rep. Rob Bishop (R-Utah) said the ideas behind the progressive policy are "tantamount to genocide. That may be an overstatement but not by a whole lot," Bishop said at a press conference Thursday morning on Capitol Hill.

Reality check: The Green New Deal is not at all related to genocide, which is defined as "the deliberate killing of a large group of people, especially those of a particular ethnic group or nation." Instead, it's a sweeping progressive goal, supported by prominent freshman Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and many Democrats, of reducing greenhouse gas emissions along with other policies, like a federal jobs guarantee and universal healthcare.

Between the lines: Bishop may have been referring to what Republicans say would be skyrocketing energy costs, which could make it more difficult for people to afford electricity.

The intrigue: I caught up with Bishop after the press conference to ask him to elaborate on his comments. Here’s our exchange.

  • Axios: Genocide is defined as “the deliberate killing of a large group of people, especially those of a particular ethnic group or nation." How is the Green New Deal like genocide?
  • Bishop: I’m an ethnic. I’m a westerner.
  • Axios: And you think the Green New Deal is going to kill you?
  • Bishop: If you actually implement everything they want to. Killing would be positive if you implement everything the Green New Deal actually wants to. That’s why the the Green New Deal is not ready for prime time.

Bottom line: Genocide has nothing to do with this debate, so invoking the term could further inflame the already deep partisan divide over climate change.

Go deeper: House GOP pushes back against Green New Deal

Go deeper

UN poll: Most see climate change as global emergency amid pandemic

Swedish climate activist Greta Thunberg (C) fronts a Fridays For Future protest at the Swedish Parliament in Stockholm in September. Photo: Jonathan Nacksrtrand/AFP via Getty Images

64% of people from around the world say climate change is a global emergency, a United Nations poll published Wednesday finds.

Why it matters: It's biggest global survey on climate change ever conducted, with some 1.2 million participants from 50 countries — including the U.S. where 65% of those surveyed view climate change as an emergency.

Collins helps contractor before pro-Susan PAC gets donation

Sen. Susan Collins during her reelection campaign. Photo: Scott Eisen/Getty Images

A PAC backing Sen. Susan Collins in her high-stakes reelection campaign received $150,000 from an entity linked to the wife of a defense contractor whose firm Collins helped land a federal contract, new public records show.

Why it matters: The executive, Martin Kao of Honolulu, leaned heavily on his political connections to boost his business, federal prosecutors say in an ongoing criminal case against him. The donation linked to Kao was veiled until last week.

How cutting GOP corporate cash could backfire

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

Companies pulling back on political donations, particularly to members of Congress who voted against certifying President Biden's election win, could inadvertently push Republicans to embrace their party's rightward fringe.

Why it matters: Scores of corporate PACs have paused, scaled back or entirely abandoned their political giving programs. While designed to distance those companies from events that coincided with this month's deadly siege on the U.S. Capitol, research suggests the moves could actually empower the far-right.

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