Nancy Pelosi Pours Cold Water on Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez's Green New Deal: 'That Goes Beyond What Our Charge Is'

AOC Nancy Pelosi Green New Deal
Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, a New York Democrat, on Capitol Hill on February 27. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said Ocasio-Cortez's Green New Deal was too broad. Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said the Green New Deal touted by Represesntative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez was too broad and unfocused to succeed in Congress at a time when climate change needed "focused, determined, decision-making."

The Green New Deal is a wide-ranging stimulus package that includes investment in climate-friendly infrastructure, a guaranteed job for all Americans "with a family-sustaining wage," restrictions on fossil fuel technology and "high-quality health care" for everyone.

A Green New Deal resolution submitted by Ocasio-Cortez to the House stated that the package responded to "several related crises" in America—social, economic and environmental—with the latter posing an existential threat to the whole planet.

Ocasio-Cortez, a New York Democrat, participated in a sit-in at Pelosi's office last November, before she was sworn in to Congress, to demand more action on climate change.

In an interview with Rolling Stone, published on Thursday but which took place in January, Pelosi said the Green New Deal, the cost of which was likely to run into the trillions of dollars, "goes beyond what our charge is. Our charge is about saving the planet."

Pelosi continued: "And then they have, I don't know if it's single-payer or Medicare for All... It's kind of...a broader agenda. All good values, but nonetheless, not what we hope to achieve with this focused, determined, decision-making: You're either for the planet or you are not. There is no Plan B for the planet. We have to preserve it, and it is in great jeopardy."

She also said: "You have to make decisions that you're going to reach certain goals, and some of our goals we think are achievable. That's why public opinion is so important."

In one anecdote shared by Pelosi, she called House Republicans "pathetic" as she recounted how, after Democrats lost their majority in the 2010 midterm elections, the GOP restored Styrofoam to the cafeteria.

"No more recycling, everything went in the same trash," Pelosi said. "You know, they're really pathetic. Because they are just handmaidens of the fossil-fuel industry, period—when they're not handmaidens of the gun industry."

President Donald Trump's daughter Ivanka Trump, who is a White House adviser, criticized the Green New Deal in an interview with Fox News earlier this week, claiming Americans did not like handouts, such as a guaranteed job or income.

"I don't think most Americans, in their heart, want to be given something. I've spent a lot of time traveling around this country over the last four years. People want to work for what they get," Trump said.

"So, I think that this idea of a guaranteed minimum is not something most people want. They want the ability to be able to secure a job. They want the ability to live in a country where there's the potential for upward mobility."

The Green New Deal has picked up support from Democratic candidates running in the 2020 presidential primary, including Senators Kamala Harris, Cory Booker, Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren.