Daines sees Green New Deal as socialist policy; Tester welcomes debate on climate

A proposal to address climate change died Tuesday in the Senate, with Sen. Steve Daines panning the Green New Deal as a vehicle for socialist policies that would destroy Montana’s economy.

Sen. Jon Tester didn’t vote for the measure but rather voted present with the majority of Senate Democrats. Before the vote, he said it was time for Congress to have a serious debate on climate change, and he accused Republican leadership of playing politics around the issue.

“Sen. (Mitch) McConnell wants to play politics rather than actually deal with the issues of climate change,” Tester said. “There’s no ifs, ands or buts about that, or we’d be dealing with climate change long before now.”

Democrats, who have made climate change a central party platform, asked GOP leadership to arrange expert hearings before bringing the Green New Deal directly to the Senate floor for a vote.

That effort failed, prompting most Democrats to vote present in protest. Tester said he welcomes further debate on climate change.

“If we don’t deal with it today in a responsible manner, our kids and grandkids should never forgive us for it,” Tester said.

“We’re a big coal state, but we never come back here (to Washington) and talk about how we can reduce C02 by developing better technology, using buy-in from the industry, using taxpayer dollars in a more effective way, and using resources like wind energy, solar energy and geothermal energy that’s out there, and try to maximize the ability of our universities to do the kind of research they need so we have a secure energy system that’s affordable and doesn’t destroy our climate.”

Daines joined the majority in voting against the Green New Deal, which he described as a disastrous, socialist proposal that would destroy Montana’s economy.

“The Green New Deal is a radical, top-down idea that disregards the impacts on hardworking Montanans and Americans across our country,” he said in a statement issued after the vote. “Plain and simple, it’s a socialist wish list that has nothing to do with conservation or the environment.”

Daines added, “We should be working towards an all-of-the-above energy agenda focused on smart and efficient conservation, and more innovation, not regulation.”