Skip to main content

Sign up for our newsletter.

Quality journalism. Progressive values. Direct to your inbox.

For Immediate Release


Stephen O’Hanlon, Sunrise Movement,

Waleed Shahid, Justice Democrats,

Press Release

Sunrise Movement and Justice Democrats Reject Steny Hoyer’s Toothless Proposal For Ocasio-Cortez's Green New Deal Committee


Following Democratic Whip Steny Hoyer’s comments on Wednesday evening in The Hill, stating that Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez’s Select Committee on the Green New Deal would not have subpoena power, Sunrise Movement and Justice Democrats released the following statement:

“If true, this decision is an insult to the thousands of young people across the country who have been calling on the Democratic Party leadership to have the courage to stand up to fossil fuel billionaires and make sure our generation has a livable future. Whip Hoyer is standing in the way of a plan that huge majorities of Americans support.” said Varshini Prakash, spokesperson at Sunrise Movement.

“The Democratic Party establishment never misses an opportunity to miss an opportunity. They have failed to propose solutions that match the scale of the climate crisis and they have failed to fully hold fossil fuel billionaires accountable. Instead of seizing the opportunity right in front of them, they have decided to violate the norms of most select committees by stripping away its power to bring the barons of the industry to account,” said Waleed Shahid, spokesperson at Justice Democrats.

The Sunrise Movement, Justice Democrats, and Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez launched their call for a Green New Deal at a sit-in at Leader Nancy Pelosi’s office in Washington on November 13, 2018. The Sunrise Movement led another round of sit-ins on December 10th where 143 young leaders were arrested for a moral act of civil disobedience at Pelosi and Hoyer’s offices in Washington.

A total of 43 Democrats in the House of Representatives now back Ocasio-Cortez’s proposal for a Select Committee on the Green New Deal. The Select Committee proposal also states that no one member can be appointed who receives donations from the fossil fuel industry.

“Our ultimate end goal isn’t a Select Committee. Our goal is to treat Climate Change like the serious, existential threat it is by drafting an ambitious solution on the scale necessary -- a Green New Deal - to get it done. A weak committee misses the point and endangers people,” Ocasio-Cortez said over Twitter.

“Subpoena power is granted to committees in the standard house rules. The phrasing of the article makes it sound like we are asking for extra power. In fact we are simply asking for what is the usual power granted to all committees,” said Saikat Chakrabarti, Ocasio-Cortez’s chief of staff, over Twitter.

The House Select Committee on Energy Independence and Global Warming that existed from 2007 to 2011 had the power to issue subpoenas and used that power to compel the Environmental Protection Agency under President George W. Bush “to disclose its progress on formulating climate change rules for automobiles.”

Polls show the Green New Deal has strong bipartisan support. A Yale and George Mason poll found 92 percent of Democrats and 64 percent of Republicans back the Green New Deal plan. The Select Committee would mandate that Congress create a plan for a rapid economic mobilization to stop climate change over the coming decade, in line with the UN’s recommendations in the IPCC report.

The United Nation's climate research body, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), released a monumental report in October declaring that the world has only 12 years to enact massive changes to global energy infrastructure to limit irreversible warming of the planet. The IPCC report also noted that while the scale of the mobilization required to tackle climate change is unprecedented, the speed is similar to government-led efforts in the United States to mobilize for World War II.


Sunrise Movement-400

Sunrise Movement is a movement to stop climate change and create millions of good jobs in the process.

As Progressives Call for End to Blockade, Biden Announces More Sanctions Against Cuba

The move comes after Democratic leadership in the House blocked an amendment to roll back limits on how much money people in the United States can send to family on the island nation.

Jessica Corbett ·

Progressives Issue Dire Warning as House Bill to Extend Eviction Moratorium Dies

"If Congress does not act now, the fallout of the eviction crisis will undoubtedly set us backwards as the Covid-19 pandemic continues to ravish our communities, needlessly contributing to more death and destruction."

Brett Wilkins ·

Citing Donziger Case, Dems Raise Alarm About Use of Private Prosecutors in Federal Court

Private prosecutions of criminal contempt charges, said a pair of senators, "are highly unusual and can raise concerning questions of fundamental fairness in our criminal justice system."

Jessica Corbett ·

'About Damn Time': DOJ Says Treasury Department Must Give Trump's Tax Returns to Congress

"This case is now bigger even than Donald Trump's crimes. Neither the courts, nor the machinery of our government, exist to bodyguard a corrupt private citizen from transparency."

Jake Johnson ·

'Just Say That the Election Was Corrupt,' Trump Told DOJ in December

"It was a failed coup. Call it what it was. It didn't work! But they sure as hell tried."

Kenny Stancil ·