Want the best from VICE News in your inbox? Sign up here.Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez issued a blistering takedown of Green New Deal opponents at a Tuesday House Financial Services Committee hearing.Republican Rep. Sean Duffy of Wisconsin attempted to dismiss Ocasio-Cortez’s concern over climate change as an “elitist” concern from a “rich liberal.”“If you’re a rich liberal from maybe New York or California, it sounds great because you can afford to retrofit your home or build a new home that has zero emissions, that’s energy-efficient,” Duffy said.
Once Ocasio-Cortez took the floor, she immediately dug in, reminding Duffy that a year ago she was a waitress in a Manhattan taco shop in downtown Manhattan with no health insurance.“This is not an elitist issue, this is a quality-of-life issue,” said Ocasio-Cortez, 29. “You want to tell people that their concern and their desire for clean air and clean water is ‘elitist’? Tell that to the kids in the South Bronx, which are suffering from the highest rates of childhood asthma in the country. Tell that to the families in Flint, whose kids — their blood is ascending in lead levels, their brains are damaged for the rest of their lives. Call them elitist. You’re telling them that those kids are trying to get on a plane to Davos? People are dying.”You can watch the full speech below.
Ocasio-Cortez’s remarks came on the same day that the Senate floor was discussing a resolution in support of the Green New Deal, which Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell allowed to happen in an attempt to humiliate Democrats and dismiss their ideas as “radical.” Most Democrats voted “present” to avoid taking a formal stance on the issue in a GOP-controlled legislative body where it had no chance of passing. The discussion over the Green New Deal quickly devolved into partisan theatrics, with Republican Sen. Mike Lee spewing nonsense about how having babies and getting married is a better plan to tackle climate change than the Green New Deal.At the House committee hearing, Ocasio-Cortez reminded her congressional colleagues that there isn’t time to waste when it comes to the climate crisis. Scientific consensus holds that there are just 11 years left before the effects of climate change become irreversible and lead to potential global disaster.“We’re here, and people are more concerned about helping oil companies than helping their own families? I don’t think so,” Ocasio-Cortez chided. “This is about our lives, this is about American lives. And it should not be partisan. Science should not be partisan.”“If we tell the American public that we are more willing to invest and bail out big banks than we are willing to invest in our farmers and our urban families, I don’t know what we’re here doing,” she added.Cover: Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Democrat of New York, speaks during a press conference to announce the "Green New Deal" held at the United States Capitol in Washington on February 7, 2019. Credit: Alex Edelman / CNP | usage worldwide Photo by: Alex Edelman/picture-alliance/dpa/AP Images