Why is Sen. Feinstein offering a competing Climate Change proposal when GND polls at 81%?

Senate Resolution 59 is the Green New Deal. It currently has 12 Senate co-sponsors(that’s over 25% of the Democratic Senate Caucus). The co-sponsors include Sen. Cory Booker, Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, Sen. Kamal Harris, Sen. Amy Klobuchar, Sen. Bernie Sanders and Sen. Elizabeth Warren.

Every single senator running for President is co-sponsoring this resolution. More importantly, the measure is overwhelmingly popular among voters. And when I say overwhelmingly, I’m not kidding:More than 80 percent of registered voters support the Green New Deal proposal being pushed by progressional Democratic lawmakers, a new poll found.

The survey conducted by the Yale Program on Climate Communication and the George Mason University Center for Climate Change Communication found that 92 percent of Democrats and 64 percent of Republicans back the Green New Deal plan. — thehill.com/…

Read that again, 92% of Democrats support the Green New Deal. 64% of Republicans support it. 88% of independents support it.

Survey respondents were given a brief synopsis of the GND and asked whether they supported it.

Some members of Congress are proposing a “Green New Deal” for the U.S. They say that a Green New Deal will produce jobs and strengthen America’s economy by accelerating the transition from fossil fuels to clean, renewable energy. The Deal would generate 100% of the nation’s electricity from clean, renewable sources within the next 10 years; upgrade the nation’s energy grid, buildings, and transportation infrastructure; increase energy efficiency; invest in green technology research and development; and provide training for jobs in the new green economy.  — climatecommunication.yale.edu/…

Which leads to the question, why is Sen. Diane Feinstein proposing legislation that is virtually guaranteed to divide Democrats when S.Res. 59 comes up for a vote? Also, why is she offering a proposal universally considered weaker than the GND, when the GND has enormous public support?

It’s not even everything the Obama administration instituted via executive orders! It’s kind of going backwards. It is really weaker than the GND, let me use one small example. Here’s the GND:

(4) to achieve the Green New Deal goals and mobilization, a Green New Deal will require the following goals and projects— […]

(M) obtaining the free, prior, and informed consent of indigenous peoples for all decisions that affect indigenous peoples and their traditional territories, honoring all treaties and agreements with indigenous peoples, and protecting and enforcing the sovereignty and land rights of indigenous peoples — www.congress.gov/…

here’s Sen. Feinstein’s proposal:

(3) The United States shall ensure a just and equitable transition for all communities, including by: […]

(D) respecting the needs and wisdom of local communities in planning infrastructure changes, especially communities that have historically been marginalized or oppressed, including indigenous peoples, communities of color, migrant communities, deindustrialized communities, depopulated rural communities, the poor, low-income workers, women, the elderly, the unhoused, people with disabilities, and youth — www.feinstein.senate.gov/…

There’s an enormous difference between “respect the needs and wisdom of” and “obtaining the free, prior, and informed consent of”. The first is a relatively content-free platitude, the second is a concrete requirement. There are several other examples. Sen. Feinstein’s proposal does not talk about union labor, the GND does. The GND requires a full-scale mobilization effort over ten years. Sen Feinstein’s proposal has softer targets over 30 years. The GND proposes a high speed rail network and public transit, to reduce reliance on air and car travel, Sen. Feinstein’s proposal does not. Don’t take my word for it, please read them side by side and ask yourself why anyone would want to squander the enormous political momentum GND activists have built (80% of voters support them!) by offering up a weaker version.

That twitter thread is worth reading in full (h/t MB). But here’s the critical bit for the purpose of this discussion. Mitch McConnell intends to present S.Res. 59 up for a vote, in an attempt to divide Democrats.

Forget the video for a bit. It was a remarkably effective piece of activism, but after four different rec listed diaries, the video it is not worth discussing further. Let’s talk about policy and what actually needs to be done here.

Why does Sen. Feinstein think her proposal is better than S.Res.59?

Why does she think offering it up in the Senate is going to result in more tangible progress than throwing her back behind the resolution proposed by Sen. Markey in the Senate? 

Perhaps  Sen. Feinstein has reached a secret deal with Mitch McConnell. Perhaps she has reason to believe her resolution will pass with strong Republican support. If so, that would be great progress under a Republican administration and Senate. I would welcome it.

If however, Sen. Feinstein does not have such an agreement, then as RL Miller notes, her alternative proposal merely serves to divide Senate Democrats on this issue. What then is the point of the proposal? Why offer a divisive proposal when the one on the table has 92% support among Democrats?

I’m genuinely curious as to what Sen. Feinstein is thinking with her alternate proposal.

— @subirgrewal | Cross-posted to TheProgressiveWing