“This is serious. People are dying.”
Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez delivered an impassioned response to Republican criticisms of the Green New Deal during a committee hearing Tuesday.
After the much-hyped proposal failed to pass the Senate Tuesday in a 57-0 vote, the New York Democrat pushed back on GOP Rep. Sean Duffy’s claim that the plan was an “elitist” issue.
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“One year ago I was waitressing in a taco shop in downtown Manhattan,” Ocasio-Cortez said. “I just got health insurance for the first time a month ago. This is not an elitist issue. This is a quality of life issue.”
Ocasio-Cortez suggested that children from working class areas like Flint, Michigan and the South Bronx are the ones who would benefit most from her proposal.
“You want to tell people that their concern and their desire for clean air and clean water is elitist,” Ocasio-Cortez said. “Tell that to the kids in the South Bronx which are suffering from the highest rates of childhood asthma in the country. Tell that to the families in Flint whose kids, their blood is ascending in lead levels, their brains are damaged for the rest of their lives. Call them elitist.”
“This is serious. This should not be a partisan issue. People are dying,” Ocasio-Cortez added. “Science should not be partisan.”
The freshman congresswoman concluded her speech by comparing the threat posed by climate change to World War II and the Great Depression.
“We are facing a national crisis. If we do not ascend to that crisis, if we do not ascend to the levels in which we were threatened at the Great Depression, when we were threatened in WWII,” Ocasio-Cortez said. “I don’t know what we’re here doing.”
Video of Ocasio-Cortez’s went viral on social media. The progressive Democrat’s supporters, as well as friendly liberal media outlets, gushed over her performance.
— Jezebel (@Jezebel) March 27, 2019
Conservatives, and Ocasio-Cortez’s, critics were less impressed.
Children are dying from low air quality and tainted water? Aside from the Flint debacle — whose origin was under the Obama admin — please give me one concrete example of poisonous water or air so polluted that it's killing people
— Enesto Reilley (@tabs223) March 27, 2019
Since introducing the ambitious Green New Deal shortly after taking office, Ocasio-Cortez has been at the center of the climate change debate. While her proposal was quickly embraced by some of the leading Democratic presidential candidates, critics claim the plan does little to actually address climate change, arguing the plan is expensive and unrealistic.
Sen. Mike Lee took to the Senate floor Tuesday and made an unorthodox case against the much-hyped Green New Deal proposal championed by Ocasio-Cortez.
In a 14-minute-long presentation, the Utah Republican used portraits of late President Ronald Reagan riding a velociraptor while firing a machine gun, Tauntauns from “Star Wars: Episode V – The Empire Strikes Back” and DC Comics superhero Aquaman to illustrate the purported absurdity of the “unserious” proposals contained in the Green New Deal, such as the elimination of all air travel.
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- Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez on House floor.: Screen grab