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Young climate activists inside Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell's (R-Ky.) office. (Photo: Aurora Samperio/NurPhoto via Getty Images)

'Wouldn't Have Happened Without Our Movement': Climate Leaders Celebrate as McConnell Delays Cynical Green New Deal Vote

The delay comes just days after hundreds of youth climate leaders held sit-ins at the Senate Majority Leader's office

Jake Johnson

Youth climate activists celebrated Wednesday after Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) delayed his cynical plan to rush a vote on the Green New Deal resolution in the face of massive grassroots opposition.

"This wouldn't have happened if it weren't for the young Kentuckians who took an enormous risk to confront #OilMoneyMitch both in Kentucky and DC. When the youth lead, we win."
—Varshini Prakash, Sunrise Movement

Earlier this month, McConnell announced that he would hold a Senate vote on the newly introduced Green New Deal resolution as early as February 28, apparently believing that an up-or-down tally would expose and exacerbate divisions within the Democratic Party.

But after climate leaders called McConnell's bluff and welcomed his push for a Green New Deal vote—believing that it would backfire on the GOP—the Senate Majority Leader said on Tuesday that he has pushed the vote back until before the August recess.

In an email to supporters on Wednesday, Sunrise Movement co-founder Varshini Prakash attributed McConnell's decision to youth-led grassroots pressure, including the massive sit-ins and protests at the Kentucky senator's Washington, D.C. office earlier this week that led to dozens of arrests.

"Make no mistake. That wouldn't have happened without our movement," Prakash wrote. "Two weeks ago, [McConnell] was excitedly telling the media about his plans. Now, he seems happy to let this vote be forgotten."

Prakash said that her group's pressure campaign urging Democrats to go bold on climate appears to have contributed to McConnell's abrupt decision to delay the Green New Deal vote.

"We pushed Democrats to go on the offensive, and that seems to have scared McConnell," Prakash noted. "They're planning floor speeches this week touting the need for bold action on climate change and a Green New Deal. They're also trying to force Republicans on the record affirming or denying climate science. This represents the most discussion climate change has gotten in the Senate in at least a decade. We still need them all to support the Green New Deal, but this shows we're on the road to getting there."


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