WASHINGTON, D.C. – Oregon’s Senator Jeff Merkley, a member of the Environment and Public Works Committee and a lead cosponsor of the Green New Deal resolution, released the following statement after Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell held a vote in an attempt to attack the Green New Deal on the Senate Floor:
“I remember well the moon landing fifty years ago this summer. Our leaders challenged Americans to accomplish something, to be the most innovative and to beat other countries to the moon—and we did it in less than a decade. And for the last five decades, we have reaped the benefits as the indisputable technological leader of the world.
“Today’s vote was the equivalent of Mitch McConnell and his colleagues responding to President Kennedy’s challenge by trying to score political points by claiming America can’t get to the moon and anyone who thinks we should try is a fool. I think it’s a whole lot more foolish to bet against Americans and to refuse to address, or even acknowledge, the biggest global crisis we will face in our lifetimes.
“The facts on the ground don’t lie and Americans, especially in rural areas, are living the impacts every day. We see it in the growing mega-fires in the West, more destructive hurricanes in the East, and horrific flooding in the Midwest. Climate chaos is here, it will only get worse, and lives and livelihoods are at stake.
“It’s time to move past ‘gotcha’ politics and on to a real debate on the bold action that is necessary to save our communities. Unfortunately, we can’t have a good-faith policy debate while one party remains a wholly owned subsidiary of the fossil fuel industry. We need bipartisan acknowledgment that this crisis is real; that it presents an existential threat to our nation; and that the only serious solution is to make the bold pivot from polluting fossil fuels to clean and renewable energy in the next dozen years.
“The good news is this: We can, and will, create millions of good-paying jobs by driving the transition to clean and renewable energy. And while I and my colleagues will continue to press forward on federal policy to transition to 100% clean and renewable energy, there’s no reason that businesses, cities, or states need to wait. The time to act is now. And with a grassroots movement across America, we can drive the transition to 100% renewable and lead the world in a Green New Deal that saves our planet and our health, and rebuilds our middle class.”