MSNBC’s Katy Tur pressed Sen. Mazie Hirono (D-HI) Tuesday on her “present” vote on the Democrats’ Green New Deal resolution to combat climate change. Despite backing the bill, Senate Democrats voted “present” on the proposal when Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) brought it to a vote.
"On the Green New Deal, there was a procedural motion today. Why did so many Democrats vote present on it instead of voting yes for it?" Tur asked Hirono.
"Because this was just a sham, so-called debate by Mitch McConnell," Hirono replied. "He wanted to divide the Democrats and the bottom line is the Green New Deal is an aspirational document that says we recognize the science behind climate change unlike Trump and the Republicans and all the climate deniers who wants to stick their heads in the sand and make believe that climate change is not happening and all of the growing number of natural disasters that are taking peoples' lives and costing our cities, our businesses, our people billions of dollars."
The “aspirational document” proposes “overhauling transportation systems in the United States to remove pollution and greenhouse gas emissions from the transportation sector as much as is technologically feasible,” and “upgrading all existing buildings in the United States and building new buildings to achieve maximum energy efficiency, water efficiency, safety, affordability, comfort, and durability.”
The nonbinding resolution also calls for providing all people in the U.S. with “high-quality health care” and “economic security.”
Additionally, the proposal comes with a hefty price tag. One study estimated the resolution would cost $93 trillion over ten years.
Tur pressed Hirono on her explanation for her vote, pointing out that "McConnell may be trying to make it a show vote, but if—you signed on to this and you're one of the co-authors of it. If you believe that this is something—even if it's aspirational that needs to get done, why not take a stand and vote yes for it?"
“It seems like you're trying to have it both ways, not be hung by it politically, but also not say that you don't support it," Tur added.
“Why should we engage in the kind of sham shenanigans that Mitch McConnell is really good at?” Hirono replied. "His goal in life is to try and divide the Democrats. He said that. Meantime, he's just shoving as many of the totally ideologically driven judges through court packing that he can."
"If we can engage in an adult-responsible debate on climate change, we will do that,” she said. “We will have that debate. I will welcome that debate, but that is not what's happening. I am not going to be a fool to Mitch McConnell's shenanigans."
While all of the 2020 Democratic presidential hopefuls in the Senate have backed freshman Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez's (D-NY) Green New Deal, more moderate Democrats have criticized the resolution.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) has repeatedly distanced herself from it, referring to it dismissively as “the green dream or whatever they call it.”