Opinion

Joe Biden and the Green New Deal

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Posted: Oct 05, 2020 12:01 AM
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Joe Biden and the Green New Deal

Source: AP Photo/Andrew Harnik

When asked by moderator Chris Wallace during the first presidential debate of the 2020 campaign season if he supports the Green New Deal (GND), Joe Biden said, “No, I don’t support the Green New Deal.”

However, according to his website, “Biden believes the Green New Deal is a crucial framework for meeting the climate challenges we face. It powerfully captures two basic truths, which are at the core of his plan: (1) the United States urgently needs to embrace greater ambition on an epic scale to meet the scope of this challenge, and (2) our environment and our economy are completely and totally connected.”

In fairness, the Biden Plan for a Clean Energy Revolution and Environmental Justice does not go nearly as far as the super-radical GND.

In general, Biden’s plan does not include the vast array of social programs, such as Medicare for All, a universal basic income, a federal jobs guarantee, free college, etc. that make the GND one of the costliest and most socialistic bills in American history.

Yet, Biden’s plan is far from moderate. And does anyone actually believe that a Biden administration would not kowtow to the radical Left and end up supporting the GND, should he win the upcoming election?

For starters, the Biden Plan does include the following:

  • “Ensure the U.S. achieves a 100% clean energy economy and reaches net-zero emissions no later than 2050.”
  • “On day one, Biden will make smart infrastructure investments to rebuild the nation and to ensure that our buildings, water, transportation, and energy infrastructure can withstand the impacts of climate change.”
  • “He will not only recommit the United States to the Paris Agreement on climate change – he will go much further than that.”
  • “The Biden plan will make a historic investment in our clean energy future and environmental justice, paid for by rolling back the Trump tax incentives that enrich corporations at the expense of American jobs and the environment.”
  • “Biden will set a target of reducing the carbon footprint of the U.S. building stock 50% by 2035, creating incentives for deep retrofits that combine appliance electrification, efficiency, and on-site clean power generation.”
  • “Make climate change a core national security priority.”

These are just a few examples of the radical progressive elements in Biden’s plan.

But, again, if Joe Biden does emerge victorious in the upcoming election, it is almost naïve to believe that he would not inch closer to supporting more of the GND than he already has. There are many reasons why.

First, Biden’s running mate, Sen. Kamala Harris (D-CA), is a co-sponsor of and leading advocate for the GND.

On March 26, 2019, Harris said, “Climate change is an existential threat, and confronting it requires bold action. I’m a proud cosponsor of Senator Markey’s Green New Deal resolution. Political stunts won’t get us anywhere. Combatting this crisis first requires the Republican majority to stop denying science and finally admit that climate change is real and humans are the dominant cause. Then we can get serious about taking action to tackle the climate crisis at the scale of the problem.”

And because 77-year-old Joe Biden, if elected, would be the oldest president to ever take office, one cannot ignore the fact that there is a likelihood that Harris could take over at some point.

Second, the most vocal supporter of the Green New Deal, Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, recently said, “I think, overall, we can likely push Vice President Biden in a more progressive direction across policy issues. … Our main priority is to make sure that the vice president is successful and victorious in November so that we can have those kinds of conversations in the first place from a more effective stance with him in the White House.”

In other words, Ocasio-Cortez wants Biden in the White House because she thinks she can push him into supporting her socialist agenda, including the GND.

Third, if the Democrats win the White House and control of the U.S. Senate this November, current-Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) has said that he would do anything and everything to ensure that his party’s agenda comes to fruition.

Schumer has repeatedly said, “everything is on the table.” This would include statehood for Washington, DC, and Puerto Rico, which would increase the Democrat’s control of the Senate, possibly for decades. Schumer said, “I would love to make them states.”

Schumer has also pledged his support to end the filibuster, saying “As for the filibuster, I'm not busting my chops to become majority leader to do very little or nothing done.”

If Schumer’s wish list becomes reality, that would only increase the prospect that the GND and other radical policies are rammed through Congress.

And if the GND shows up on Biden’s desk, with his party and special interest groups in full-favor, do you really think he would veto it?

For now, Joe Biden is walking on a political tight rope. On one hand, he is trying to appeal to moderate Democrats and independents by trying to portray himself as middle-of-the-road. On the other hand, he needs to retain the support of his party’s increasingly powerful far-Left flank, which fully support the Green New Deal and several other socialistic proposals.

The $50,000 question is: If Biden wins, which version will occupy the White House, the moderate or the radical?

Chris Talgo (ctalgo@heartland.org) is an editor at The Heartland Institute.