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Democrats, Including Ocasio-Cortez, Vote Against Green New Deal Amendment

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Democrats on the House Committee on Financial Services voted unanimously against an amendment introduced by a GOP lawmaker to spark debate about a key demand of the Green New Deal.

Wisconsin Rep. Sean Duffy, the committee’s ranking Republican, introduced the amendment to the committee Democrats’ budget resolution, though he said in a hearing Wednesday he did not plan on voting for it.

Duffy’s intention, instead, was to use the amendment to debate a key demand of the Green New Deal, which was introduced by New York Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez in February. That bill, which is backed by some Democratic 2020 presidential candidates, included a call to retrofit every building to maximize energy efficiency.

Duffy’s amendment would have changed the wording of one line of a financial services committee budget and views resolution to be in line with the Green New Deal’s call for “maximum energy efficiency” and “zero-emissions.”

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The amendment said the budget should furnish funds “to provide all people with affordable, safe, and adequate housing that has been newly built or retroactively upgraded to achieve maximum energy efficiency, water efficiency, safety, affordability, comfort, and durability, using only clean, renewable, and zero-emission energy sources.”

That’s similar to the Green New Deal resolution’s call for “upgrading all existing buildings in the United States and building new buildings to achieve maximum energy efficiency, water efficiency, safety, affordability, comfort, and durability, including through electrification.”

Duffy sparred with committee chair Rep. Maxine Waters, a California Democrat and Green New Deal co-sponsor, who said the amendment was not a serious one and urged fellow Democrats to vote against it.

“I want to debate it, but I’m not going to vote for it,” Duffy said in an exchange with Waters during the hearing.

“[W]e are dealing with a very real homeless crisis in this country, and this amendment is not taking it serious,” Waters responded before asking her Democratic colleagues to vote “no” on Duffy’s amendment.

“Is the gentle-lady chairwoman saying that the Green New Deal is not serious?” Duffy shot back. Waters said “you are not serious” before reclaiming her time.

Missouri Rep. Lacy Clay, a Democrat, called Duffy’s bill “ridiculous.” Clay said there should be a serious discussion about how to make public housing energy-efficient, so people can save on utility bills.

“How dare we try to make a game out of this, I think it’s ridiculous,” Clay said.

Unsurprisingly, Duffy’s amendment was unanimously defeated. Every Republican and Democrat on the committee, including Ocasio-Cortez, voted against Duffy’s amendment to the committee budget resolution.

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