Pelosi names climate change panel, Ocasio-Cortez not among members

Image: Nancy Pelosi
Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., talks with reporters during her weekly news conference, on Capitol Hill in Washington on Feb. 7, 2019. Copyright J. Scott Applewhite AP
Copyright J. Scott Applewhite AP
By Allan Smith with NBC News Politics
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Ocasio-Cortez, meanwhile, is set to roll out the framework of her "Green New Deal" plan.


Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez may be the leading voice behind a left-wing push for a "Green New Deal," but the New York Democrat won't be serving on a newly created House committee tasked with combating climate change.

On Thursday, Pelosi named nine Democratic members to the new Select Committee on the Climate Crisis. They include:

  • Rep. Kathy Castor of Florida, Chair
  • Rep. Ben Ray Luján of New Mexico
  • Rep. Suzanne Bonamici of Oregon
  • Rep. Julia Brownley of California
  • Rep. Sean Casten of Illinois
  • Rep. Jared Huffman of California
  • Rep. Mike Levin of California
  • Rep. Donald McEachin of Virginia
  • Rep. Joe Neguse of Colorado

"The American people have spoken and demanded bold action to take on the climate crisis, which is the existential threat of our time," Pelosi said in a statement announcing the panel of lawmakers. "We are thrilled to welcome so many visionary leaders and strong voices to our new Select Committee on the Climate Crisis, which will be vital in advancing ambitious progress for our planet."

A spokesman for Ocasio-Cortez did not immediately respond to a request for comment about the panel's membership from NBC News.

Pelosi's announcement comes as Ocasio-Cortez, who pushed for the creation of the committee, is rolling out the framework of such a "Green New Deal" with Democratic Sen. Ed Markey of Massachusetts in a Thursday resolution. Leading 2020 contenders like Sens. Kamala Harris of California, Cory Booker of New Jersey, Bernie Sanders of Vermont, and Kirsten Gillibrand of New York are co-sponsoring the resolution.

The plan calls for a complete transition to renewable energy by 2030 and seeks "to achieve net-zero greenhouse gas emissions through a fair and just transition for all communities and workers," according to a copy of the resolution posted byNational Public Radio. The plan calls for a massive 10-year infrastructure plan but does not seek to impose a price on pollution, such as through a carbon tax. The proposal also does not address how it will be paid for.

Although Ocasio-Cortez's chief of staff said the plan will have at least 60 House cosponsors, it is likely to face tough resistance in the Republican-controlled Senate.

Pelosi, meanwhile, told Politico on Wednesday that the plan was "one of several or maybe many suggestions that we receive."

"The green dream, or whatever they call it," she added. "Nobody knows what it is, but they're for it, right?"

During a Thursday press conference where she discussed the new committee, Pelosi said she welcomes "all the enthusiasms."

"I'm very excited about it all, and I welcome the green new deal and any other proposals that people have out there," she said.

Ocasio-Cortez, meanwhile, praised Pelosi in an interview with NPR on Wednesday, saying she's done "a really good job" of bringing the various factions in the Democratic Party together.

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