(BIVN) – A partisan debate on climate change occurred in Washington this week, where the Republican-controlled United States Senate rejected the Green New Deal on Tuesday, and the two Democratic Party senators from Hawaiʻi were right in the middle of it.
“This afternoon the Senate is going to vote on the far left wish list that many of our Democratic colleagues have rushed to embrace,” said Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Kentucky) on Tuesday. “This might sound like a neat idea in places like San Francisco or New York, the places that the Democratic Party seems totally focused on these days, but the communities practically everywhere else would be absolutely crushed by this. Killing off entire domestic industries, winding down millions of jobs, basically outlawing the only sources of energy that working-class and middle-class families can actually afford.”
“I come to the floor today to denounce the Majority Leader’s sham debate on the Green New Deal,” said Hawaiʻi Senator Mazie Hirono on the floor. “Let’s be clear, the majority leader did not call this resolution up for a vote because he thinks climate change is an urgent threat to our country. In fact, he has opposed nearly every congressional effort to confront the climate crisis. The Republican Party’s political and financial ties to the fossil fuel industry are well known. This latest effort to attack senators demanding action on climate change with cries of socialism is reminiscent of the Red Scare in my view.”
“I’m not sure I’ve ever seen these self-professed supporters of a piece of legislation more angry or irritated that they would actually have to vote on it,” Sen. McConnell stated.
Things took a cartoonish turn on the senate floor, when Sen. Mike Lee (R-Utah) posted a painting of a machine gun-toting Ronald Reagan riding a velociraptor, and transitioned to Luke Skywalker on a Tauntaun, an illustration of how “ridiculous” the Green New Deal legislation is, he said, adding that “there isn’t a single serious idea, here. Not one.”
Senator Lee’s reference to fictional Star Wars beasts did not sit well with Senator Brian Schatz (D-Hawaiʻi).
“I have to say something about the junior senator from Utah,” Sen. Schatz said. “That was appalling. I get that we want to make jokes and we want to be clever and we want to have a clip to put on Facebook or Instagram or whatever, but that was appalling. This is the crisis of our generation and it is not a joke.”
On Wednesday, both senators from Hawaiʻi took action, in their own way.
Sen. Hirono joined other senate Democrats, filing a brief with the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit in the case of Oakland v. BP, arguing that “major oil companies and producers have interfered and blocked action in Congress on climate change.” The California cities of Oakland and San Francisco “are seeking to hold major oil companies responsible for the cost of projects like safeguarding coastlines from flooding due to climate change-driven sea level rise,” the senators say.
The media release stated:
In their brief, the Senators cited the decades-long influence campaign carried out by the oil industry to sow public doubt about the scientific basis and severity of climate change, and to block any action by Congress or the executive branch to combat carbon pollution.
Meanwhile, Sen. Schatz was named chair of a new, Democratic special committee that will investigate, hold hearings, and issue findings on the economic and national security consequences of climate change.
Senate Democratic Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) announced on Wednesday that the new Special Committee on the Climate Crisis had been established.
“In order to take bold action, we need a broad coalition. We have put together a group of people who are leading on climate in different ways. And that is going to be the foundation for our success,” said Senate Democrats’ Special Committee on the Climate Crisis Chairman Brian Schatz (D-Hawai‘i). “With this group, we have the necessary pieces to take this issue seriously — to make real inquiries and real analysis. We are treating this like the planetary emergency it is.”