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Youth Climate Leaders Launch Campaign to Make McConnell Regret 'Shameless' Green New Deal Ploy

"The fact that McConnell is trying to stop our organizing is a sign that he's scared. It is a testament to the power of our organizing. We can't back down now."

"This is a shameless political ploy by Mitch McConnell to try to slow our momentum. They are calling this vote because they know this resolution is a powerful organizing tool, and they want to take it away," said Sunrise Movement co-founder Varshini Prakash. (Image: Sunrise Movement)

As new polling found that over 80 percent of the American public supports the key pillars of the Green New Deal resolution, the youth-led Sunrise Movement on Thursday launched an action plan aimed at making Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) regret his "shameless" plan to rush a floor vote on the bold climate plan.

"We are going to take this challenge from Mitch McConnell and use it as an opportunity to build even more support for the Green New Deal. We're not going to let him win."
—Varshini Prakash, Sunrise Movement
While McConnell appears to believe that he can expose divisions in the Democratic caucus by forcing senators into an up-or-down vote on the Green New Deal, Sunrise campaigners declared that—with urgent organizing and mobilization nationwide—they can build enough support for the resolution to "turn the tables on Mitch and create a political earthquake."

"This is a shameless political ploy by Mitch McConnell to try to slow our momentum. He and his fossil fuel billionaire donors have no plan to stop climate change. They are calling this vote because they know this resolution is a powerful organizing tool, and they want to take it away," Sunrise co-founder Varshini Prakash wrote in an email to supporters. "For the past two days, our organizing team has been charting out an ambitious plan to use this vote to put the Green New Deal in the national spotlight, and pressure all senators to back the resolution."

Here is Sunrise's plan to pressure senators to back the Green New Deal, which will culminate in a nationwide day of action on Feb. 26:

  1. Kick off the #SenateSprint this week and next. We'll write Letters to the Editor and show up at Senate offices to urge them to co-sponsor the resolution.
  2. Mass action in D.C. on Feb 25th. Young people from Kentucky, McConnell's home state, are planning to confront Mitch McConnell in D.C.—we need to be there to back them. As we're flooding the Senate, we're asking hubs and allies to flood Senate offices with thousands of calls.
  3. Turn up the heat on Feb 26th. All across the country, we'll be storming into offices, singing, dropping banners, rallying outside, and making it clear that young people are ready to hold our politicians' feet to the fire if they don't co-sponsor the Green New Deal.

"The fact that McConnell is trying to stop our organizing is a sign that he's scared," Prakash concluded. "It is a testament to the power of our organizing. We can't back down now. In fact, it's time to ramp up. We are going to take this challenge from Mitch McConnell and use it as an opportunity to build even more support for the Green New Deal. We're not going to let him win."

Officially unveiled last week by Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.) and Sen. Ed Markey (D-Mass.), the Green New Deal resolution already has the support of more than 80 House Democrats and 11 senators—including major 2020 presidential hopefuls like Sens. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.), Kamala Harris (D-Calif.), Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.), and Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.).

In addition to proposing a "national mobilization" to transition the U.S. to 100 percent renewable energy in 10 years, the Green New Deal resolution also calls for a federal jobs guarantee, universal healthcare, and massive infrastructure investments.

While focusing much of their attention on the Senate Democrats who have yet to back the Green New Deal, Sunrise communications director Stephen O'Hanlon told Earther that Republican phone lines and offices will also be flooded.

"The value of going after Republicans, especially Republicans in swing districts or purple states, is to remind them that their constituents are paying attention to where they stand on this issue," O'Hanlon said. "If they come down on the wrong side of this, we're going to remember."

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