Tell your Democratic Member of Congress to support the Green New Deal

The 2018 midterms swept Democrats into power in the House, and they have brought with them a renewed focus on combating climate change. Sitting Members of Congress (MoCs) and incoming MoCs alike have rallied around a proposal to establish a Select Committee For A Green New Deal as a starting point for making the changes necessary to protect the planet from catastrophic climate change. The Select Committee would be responsible for developing a plan and accompanying draft legislation by March 2020 for a Green New Deal that would be implemented over the next decade.

The Green New Deal is an ambitious, progressive policy framework that would protect the planet and grow the economy. Like the original New Deal, the Green New Deal represents a massive investment in America’s people and infrastructure—but with the additional goals of spending on projects that will transition America to a green economy, and ensuring that these investments are targeted to promote “social, economic, racial, regional, and gender-based justice and equality.”

In this document, we will:

  • Explain the history of House Select Committees intended to produce policies to combat climate change,

  • Dive into the specifics of the Select Committee For A Green New Deal and the plan it would produce, and

  • Give you the tools you need to best advocate for your MoC to call for the establishment of the Select Committee.

Call Your Member of Congress Now!

Call your Democratic MoC today and tell them: vote “yes” on an addendum to the House Rules for the 116th Congress to establish the Select Committee For A Green New Deal.

Call Now!

Has the House Ever Had a Select Committee Like This Before?

After Democrats took back the House in a wave election in 2006 (sound familiar?), one of newly-elected Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s first moves was to establish the House Select Committee on Energy Independence and Global Warming. Chaired by Rep. (now Senator) Ed Markey, the Select Committee’s mandate was to “investigate, study, make findings, and develop recommendations on policies, strategies, technologies and other innovations” on ways the United States could reduce its dependence on foreign energy and achieve reductions in emissions to protect the planet.

The Select Committee on Energy Independence and Global Warming didn’t have any formal legislative authority (in other words, it couldn’t vote on bills), but it held 80 hearings and briefings during its existence. It used the information it gathered to help develop the 2009 economic stimulus bill signed by President Obama, and the 2009 cap-and-trade bill that passed the House but was never taken up by the Senate.

Once the Republicans won the House back in 2010 they disbanded the committee, but its work during the preceding four years contributed to moving the ball forward on environmental protection and responsible energy independence.

What is the Select Committee for A Green New Deal?

The Select Committee For A Green New Deal would be responsible for developing a plan, and accompanying draft legislation, to decarbonize the US economy, draw down and capture greenhouse gases, and promote economic and environmental justice and equality. They would have to complete the plan by January 2020, and the accompanying draft legislation by March 2020.

To set up a new Select Committee, Democrats need to pass an addendum to House Rules for this Congress. Such an addendum is unlikely to receive any Republican support, which means we need most Democratic MoCs to vote in favor of establishing the Select Committee for this effort to move forward.

The Select Committee would consist of 15 members, all of whom are chosen by the Speaker (thus, “Select” Committee). Nine of the members would be Democrats, and six would be Republicans. Like the previous Select Committee, this one would not have formal legislative authority, but it would have the same critical investigatory and convening powers that would be necessary to complete its work.

The legislation to implement the Green New Deal have to be written to be implemented in no more than 10 years from the beginning of its execution. This is an important timeline, given that the United Nations recently issued a landmark report saying that we only have 12 years to make the changes needed for global warming to be kept to a maximum of 1.5°C. Scientists argue that warming above that threshold would result in catastrophic impacts such as water scarcity for another 61 million people globally.

What Policies Would Be Included in The Green New Deal?

The resolution put forward by Representative-elect Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and supported by a coalition of over 100 organizations led by the Sunrise Movement and Justice Democrats lays out parameters for how the Select Committee would achieve the goal of decarbonizing the US economy. These include:

  • Moving the United States to 100% renewable power generation

  • Building a national, energy-efficient, “smart” grid

  • Upgrading residential and industrial building to be more energy-efficient

  • Drawing down and capturing greenhouse gases from our atmosphere and oceans, and

  • Making the United States a major global exporter of green technology, industry, expertise, products, and services.

Like the original New Deal, advocates also see the Green New Deal as an opportunity to drastically improve the quality of life for working people across the country. In addition to the improvements above, the Green New Deal could include programs such as:

  • A job and job training guarantee

  • A basic income program

  • Universal health care, and

  • Public banks to fund these improvements and programs.

These policies are broadly popular, and the cost of implementing them (which is still uncertain) is vastly eclipsed by the cost of inaction. The most recent National Climate Assessment says that climate change could reduce the size of the United States economy by as much as 10 percent by the end of the century if we don't act—nearly a $2 trillion dollar price tag.

How Can You Get Your MoC to Support the Select Committee?

The Green New Deal would be a broad-based package with elements that would benefit every single American—which means there are reasons for every Democrat to support the establishment of a Select Committee. While the benefits may look different in each district, this is an opportunity for your MoC to be a leader on protecting the planet while also bringing home once-in-a-generation benefits to their constituents.

You can check to see if your MoC has made a statement in support of the Select Committee here. Call your Democratic MoC today and tell them: vote “yes” on an addendum to the House Rules for the 116th Congress to establish the Select Committee For A Green New Deal.

Call Script

Caller: Hi! My name is [NAME], and I’m calling from [part of state]. I’m calling because I want to urge [MoC] to publicly support establishing a Select Committee For A Green New Deal in the House Rules for the 116th Congress.

If MoC supports establishing a Select Committee

Staffer: Thanks for calling! [MoC] agrees that we should establish such a Select Committee; climate change is an urgent problem, and we need bold solutions like a Green New Deal to address it.

Caller: Great! I’m glad to hear it—I hope [MoC] will talk to their colleagues, especially from our state’s delegation, about signing on in support of the Select Committee.

If MoC does not support the Select Committee or doesn’t have a position

Staffer: Thanks for calling. [MoC] agrees with you that climate change is an urgent issue to address. But he/she doesn’t think this is the right way to go about it. The Energy and Commerce Committee and the Natural Resources Committee have Democratic members who are eager to work on protecting the planet, and a Select Committee would be duplicative.

Caller: I’m disappointed to hear that. Climate change is the most urgent challenge of our time, and establishing a Select Committee For A Green New Deal would demonstrate that Democrats understand the kind of action we need to take to prevent catastrophic levels of global warming. I expect [MoC] to reconsider.