GOP lawmaker parodies Green New Deal in new climate bill

April 4, 2019
In The News

Republicans have an answer to the Green New Deal climate resolution in the form of a new parody bill unveiled on Wednesday.

Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-Fla.) revealed his new resolution, dubbed the Green Real Deal, calling it a conservative re-imagining of the progressive climate plan first introduced by Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.).

His logo for the resolution crosses out the “new” in Green New Deal and replaces the word with “real” written in Comic Sans font, a choice, Gaetz said, that was designed to mock the plan.

“We need a better metric that looks at our utilization of renewables and adoption of those worldwide,” Gaetz told reporters Wednesday, while wearing a lime-green tie.

“This is not a problem that one party can solve, it's not a problem one nation can solve.”

Gaetz’s resolution identifies climate change as a threat to national security and calls on the U.S. to wield innovation to battle global warming, invest in green energy technology and pass tax credits for homeowners to invest in energy efficiency measures.

It does not lay out any timetables for reducing carbon emissions in the U.S. and instead states that the U.S. has successfully reduced greenhouse gas emissions over the last decade.

But Gaetz promised sincerity in the plan Wednesday, telling reporters he was committed to leading his party to find ways to address global warming.

“History will judge harshly my Republican colleagues who deny the science of climate change,” he said. “I didn’t come to Congress to argue with a thermometer."

Other initiatives highlighted in his resolution include modernizing the U.S. electric grid, increasing the use of hydropower, expanding the use of nuclear energy and emboldening states to incentivize clean energy production and energy efficiency through tax breaks.

Gaetz said he had spoken with Ocasio-Cortez about the two plans and found a few points of agreement. But he acknowledged many in his party were not prepared to address climate change.

“You should ask every Republican whether or not they believe in the science of climate change,” he told reporters. “And if Republicans do believe the climate is changing, it’s incumbent upon each and every one of them to support a solution, not to merely acknowledge the problem and stay with their head stuck in the sand.”

Democrats and Republicans are at odds over various climate proposals and how quickly they should be advancing. Some House Republicans have pushed for a vote on the Green New Deal, while others say Democrats are moving too quickly this week in advancing a bill from Rep. Kathy Castor (D-Fla.) that would recommit the U.S. to the goals of the Paris Climate Accord. No Republicans support either bill.

Gaetz said he avoided laying out specific targets for reducing emissions in his resolution, instead saying that the U.S. needs to focus on encouraging research and development of emerging green technology and bolstering private investment.

Ocasio-Cortez’s Green New Deal failed to pass the Senate last week after a majority of Democrats voted “present” in a sign of unity.

So far, Gaetz’s bill has one co-sponsor: Rep. Francis Rooney (R-Fla.). The number falls far short of the more than 90 co-sponsors who signed on to back Ocasio-Cortez’s Green New Deal.

But, Gaetz says, that doesn’t phase him.

“I’m going to vote for it, and that’s more than we can say for the Green New Deal over in the Senate,” Gaetz told reporters at a press conference on the Capitol lawn.

“The Green New Deal can’t get its own sponsors to vote for it. So I’ll stand and back with these ideas and stay consistent to track more support down the road.”