Updated (5:28pm EST):
The U.S. Senate blocked the Green New Deal resolution from moving forward on Tuesday afternoon, with 43 Democrats voting "present" as a show of unity in the face of the Republican Party's attempt to sow discord within the Democratic caucus.
Sens. (D-W.V.), Kyrsten Sinema (D-Ariz.), Doug Jones (D-Ala.) and (I-Maine) were the only members of the caucus who voted "no" on the resolution.
"Fighting the Green New Deal without putting any remotely serious alternative on the table is going to backfire." —Bill Snape, Center for Biological Diversity
Climate action advocates applauded the Democrats for refusing to participate in Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell's (R-Ky.) effort to sabotage progressives' fight to pass bold, sweeping legislation aimed at curbing fossil fuel emissions and remaking the country's energy infrastructure while creating millions of jobs.
"Senate Republicans want to make a circus of the Green New Deal, but they're just exposing themselves as fossil-fuel-funded clowns," said Bill Snape, senior counsel at the Center for Biological Diversity, in a statement. "Americans want bold action on climate change to preserve a livable planet for their children and grandchildren. Fighting the Green New Deal without putting any remotely serious alternative on the table is going to backfire."
"Calling this vote was a shameful ploy by Mitch McConnell to slow the Green New Deal's momentum. But his cynical ploy backfired, and showed just how out of touch Mitch McConnell and GOP senators are with ordinary Americans," added Sunrise Movement co-founder Varshini Prakash. "On the heels of record wildfires and hurricanes and a groundbreaking UN Climate Report, Americans are demanding solutions like never before, and Republicans are showing them they have nothing to offer."
In a tweet, Sen. Ed Markey (D-Mass.), who first introduced the resolution in the Senate declared:
What Senator McConnell and Senate Republicans fail to understand is that the #GreenNewDeal is not just a resolution. It is a revolution.
Today’s vote won’t be the end of this debate. It is only the beginning.
— Ed Markey (@SenMarkey) March 26, 2019
Climate action groups joined Democratic senators Tuesday in condemning what one critic called a "cynical ploy" by Republican Party to bring the Green New Deal to a vote without any hearings or debate, in a naked attempt to divide the Democratic caucus.
The Senate was scheduled to vote on the resolution at 4:00pm Tuesday, with Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (D-Ky.) openly stating his intention with the vote on Twitter.
The vote will allow the public to "see which senators are so fully committed to radical left-wing ideology that they can't even vote 'no' on self-inflicted economic ruin that would take a sledgehammer to America's middle class," McConnell wrote.
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"To ordinary people, climate change is not politics, it is life and death," Markey said. "But instead of confronting this generational challenge, Senate Republicans and their leader Mitch McConnell have scheduled a sham vote today." —Sen. Ed Markey (D-Mass.)Earlier Tuesday, Sen. Ed Markey (D-Mass.), who introduced the Green New Deal resolution last month along with Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.), joined the youth-led Sunrise Movement at a press conference and rally to denounce the plan and warn that the GOP will not succeed in shifting Americans' attention away from the climate crisis and the Democrats' plan to confront it.
"To ordinary people, climate change is not politics, it is life and death," Markey said. "But instead of confronting this generational challenge, Senate Republicans and their leader Mitch McConnell have scheduled a sham vote today...Senator McConnell wants to sabotage the call for climate action. He and his colleagues want to make a mockery of the national debate that we have started with the Green New Deal."
Markey and other Democrats have called for hearings to have a public discussion of how the Green New Deal could create an estimated 10 million jobs over a decade as Americans set to work building new sustainable infrastructure and technology that could carry the nation into the next century without polluting the environment; sending carbon emissions into the atmosphere; and resulting in rising sea levels, frequent drought, and increasingly destructive weather events.
Varshini Prakash, co-founder of the Sunrise Movement—whose pressure campaign over the past four month has been credited with convincing 103 Democratic lawmakers to co-sponsor Green New Deal legislation—predicted that McConnell's plan would not work, considering that many Democrats are planning to vote "present" as a show of unity, rather than "yes" or "no."
"Mitch McConnell bet big that today's vote would fracture the Democratic caucus," said Prakash. "And Mitch McConnell bet big that people around the nation don't care about climate justice, about clean air and clean water and the creation of millions of good jobs. He bet big that the might of movements of courageous advocates and bold political leaders could not withstand his political games. Today he bet wrong and he will lose big."
“We’re bringing the #GreenNewDeal to red states, to blue states, to purple states.” This resolution is the beginning of our revolution. Join us around the country: https://t.co/3qx6b4Cd3m pic.twitter.com/HmXV9Sq7DS
— Sunrise Movement (@sunrisemvmt) March 26, 2019
McConnell's plan, Markey asserted on the Senate floor after the press conference, was also aimed at distracting the American public from the fact that Republicans have no plan to combat the climate crisis—and indeed, still counts among its ranks 150 lawmakers including President Donald Trump who deny that the crisis is even taking place and that human activity is fueling it.
"We say to the Republican leader, do you believe in the science, do you believe it's an existential threat?" Markey said. "And if you do, where is your plan? Where's the Republican plan to deal with the science of climate change?"
Instead of confronting the generational challenge of climate change, Senate Republicans just want to make a mockery of the #GreenNewDeal. Because they have no plan to fight climate change. pic.twitter.com/foNOzEBxv5
— Ed Markey (@SenMarkey) March 26, 2019
By staging what Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.) called a "political stunt," Markey said, the GOP is showing its failure "to understand...that the Green New Deal is not just a resolution, it is a revolution."
May Boeve, executive director of 350.org, called on the Democratic caucus to remain united during the "sham" vote.
"McConnell, who takes millions of dollars from the fossil fuel lobby, thinks that by calling for an early vote, he can kill the public and political momentum to make the Green New Deal a reality in 2021. But we see his intentions clearly and call on Democrats to stand united against these slimy maneuvers that put partisan bickering ahead of real solutions to the climate crisis," said Boeve.
"While McConnell wastes the American public's time with this political theater, millions of people across the Midwest are being impacted by yet another climate disaster: the devastating floods that have destroyed homes, farms and crops, leaving thousands stranded without access to clean water and food, and costing the public billions," she added. "If Republicans really cared, they would set aside this nonsense vote to actually help their constituents who are facing the real impacts of the climate crisis now."