EL PASO, Texas — Former Texas representative Beto O’Rourke, who is mulling over a presidential bid, said Monday evening in El Paso that he is “excited” by the Green New Deal.
Led by Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and Sen. Ed Markey, a group of Democrats unveiled the Green New Deal, a broad roadmap to tackling climate change, last week; earlier this year, before the release, O’Rourke had praised the concept of a Green New Deal, as some national Democrats have.
“I'm really excited about the leadership there to meet our commitment to the generations that follow. It is the best proposal that I've seen to ensure that this planet does not warm another two degrees celsius, after which we may lose the ability to live in places like El Paso,” O’Rourke told BuzzFeed News.
“It's going to take that kind of effort to ensure that we meet our commitments.”
He made the comments as he marched in El Paso protesting President Donald Trump’s proposed wall. Trump held a nearby rally Monday night.
The resolution is ambitious but broad. In recent days, talking points posted to and then removed from Ocasio-Cortez’s website that included more specifics and language about people “unwilling to work” have become complicated for Democrats and an object of criticism for Republicans. (On Monday, at Trump’s rally, the president made a point of claiming that Democrats want to get rid of cars and cows.) Democrats have said the talking points were posted by mistake.
Sens. Bernie Sanders, Kirsten Gillibrand, Kamala Harris, Cory Booker, and Amy Klobuchar all signed on to the Senate version of the resolution. Sanders is seen as a likely 2020 candidate, and the others have already jumped into the race. On Monday night, Rep. Tulsi Gabbard told the Washington Post that she’s considering the Green New Deal and worries it isn’t specific enough. Speaker Nancy Pelosi has notably not signed on, telling Politico, “It will be one of several or maybe many suggestions that we receive. The green dream or whatever they call it, nobody knows what it is, but they’re for it right?”
Asked whether he thought the Green New Deal itself was specific enough, O’Rourke praised its ambition.
“The piece of the plan that matters the most to me is reducing our carbon emissions so that the generations that follow ours can call this place home,” he said. “In that sense, the very ambitious, specific goal of what we have to do over the next 10 years, I think is very specific.”
(The resolution itself contains a 10-year commitment to “eliminating pollution and greenhouse gas emissions as much as technologically feasible.”)
“Now it is on all of us — I mean, not just Congress and the president, but everyone in this country,” he said, “so that we all do everything we can to get the specific laws and regulations at the federal, state, and local levels to match that commitment, as well as harnessing the ingenuity and innovation that comes from this great country to match that challenge.”