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  • Writer's pictureMichael McAuliff

AOC, Ed Markey Re-Up The Green New Deal

The Green New Deal is neither done nor dead, Rep. Alexandria Ocasio Cortez said Thursday as she and a cadre of other lefty lawmakers re-upped the Green New Deal and added a few new features, including a guidebook and new health proposals.

"Just a few years ago, when we introduced the Green New Deal, we were told again and again, this is not realistic, this is this is unreasonable, that this is just a pie in the sky notion, right?" Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.) told reporters on Capitol Hill.

"But we said, 'Watch us work. That's okay. Watch us work," said. "As the adage goes, first they laugh at you, then they fight you, and then we win. And that, in a nutshell, is a big part of what we've experienced over the last couple of years."

The congresswoman was referring to climate successes over the last couple of years that prominently include passage of the bipartisan infrastructure legislation and the Democrats' Inflation Reduction Act, with its numerous provisions to spur alternative energy.

But she said local governments and people need to know how to access the funding and programs created by those bills, and offered a guide book to help.

"We're hoping that this guide will provide cities, states, tribes, nonprofits, businesses, and individuals with the tools to take full advantage of what is in here," she said.

Sen. Ed Markey (D-Mass) touted the guide, and also announced he at California Democratic Rep. Ro Khanna were introducing a Green New Deal for healthcare that aims to address growing health care shortages in much of the country, paired with a focus on dealing with the impacts of climate disasters.

"We need a whole of government and a whole of health approach to the intersecting climate and health crisis," Markey said. "We need investments in community health centers that provide care to everyone."

The bill would spend over $370 billion to boost community health centers and local healthcare work forces, and to modernize and weatherize medical facilities so they are more resistant to calamitous weather events.

"We need to help struggling hospitals to stay open. We need investments in green and resilient facilities so people have uninterrupted access to care before during and after a climate fueled disaster," he said.

The lawmakers were aware that there is little appetite or opportunity to pass new programs with Republicans in control of the House. But they insisted pushing the same way advocates and young people pushed for Green New Deal policies over the last four years would win out again, eventually.

The climate activist group Sunrise Movement that helped propel Ocasio-Cortez to prominence pledged in a statement that it would keep up its focus on winning hearts and minds.

“Across this country, millions of young people still dream of a Green New Deal," said Sunrise Movement Executive Director Varshini Prakash. "As fossil fuel billionaires and Right wing extremists take on the battle for control of our classrooms and communities, we are fighting back. Together, we will take over, classroom by classroom, school by school, city by city until we win the Green New Deal in every corner of this country.”


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