Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.) recently unveiled a form of her long-touted “Green New Deal” that’s attracted considerable scrutiny from those on the right who claim that it goes too far. This week in a Congressional committee hearing, Rep. Liz Cheney (R-Wy.) claimed that the plan will eliminate air travel from the United States, despite that simply not being a part of the actual plan.
‘I have to say that one of the issues that people are particularly concerned about is the extent to which we are no longer going to have air travel apparently… I assume over the course of the 10 years, we would somehow gradually work our way out of air travel. And I would also have to guess it would have to also involve some sort of prioritization.’
Cheney incorporated that rant into questions for a panel of witnesses including Just Energy’s Partnership for Southern Equity’s Chandra Farley, claiming coal to be a “national security” need. Cheney sought to have them explain how the government would handle phasing out air travel, despite the fact that — ridiculously enough! — that’s not in any legislation that has been put forward!
Rep. Jared Huffman (D-Mo.), who was also on the panel participating in the climate change-focused hearing, called her claims out as “fiction” and “a line of questioning based on absolute hooey.”
‘The notion that any of us who are supporting the actual resolution… want to ban all air travel, that’s crazy. That’s absolutely crazy. None of us want to do that… There comes A point where this type of questioning is so disingenuous and so completely disconnected from anything factual that there ought to be a mechanism to strike it from the record.’
The original document that Cheney drew her criticisms from, although at times drastic, doesn’t even outline an explicit targeting of air travel as she suggested. Instead, it explained that the plan would bolster ground-level, renewable energy-based transportation so that air travel “stops becoming necessary.”
Still, that hasn’t stopped Republicans from seizing on the outlandish claim that the Democrats want to outlaw air travel in their supposedly drastic plans to combat climate change anyway. President Donald Trump himself tweeted as much, mockingly ranting:
‘I think it is very important for the Democrats to press forward with their Green New Deal. It would be great for the so-called “Carbon Footprint” to permanently eliminate all Planes, Cars, Cows, Oil, Gas & the Military – even if no other country would do the same. Brilliant!’
The document answering “frequently asked questions” that the claim originally emerged from has since been taken down from the web, and to again be clear, was never part of what was actually put forward in Congress anyway. Ocasio-Cortez’s chief of staff explained the document as an “early draft of a FAQ that was clearly unfinished and that doesn’t represent the GND resolution” but was instead accidentally released.
In both the House and Senate, dozens of Democrats are instead backing a resolution that includes aims to:
- achieve net-zero greenhouse gas emissions through a fair and just transition for all communities and workers
- create millions of good, high-wage jobs and ensure prosperity and economic security for all people of the United States
- invest in the infrastructure and industry of the United States to sustainably meet the challenges of the 21st century
– and so on.
Why are those such controversial ideas?
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