- The Washington Times - Tuesday, March 12, 2019

The Green New Deal is still a work in progress, top progressive Democrats said Tuesday, after a leading labor union ripped the iconic proposal as unrealistic.

Reps. Mark Pocan and Pramilla Jayapal, co-chairs of the Congressional Progressive Caucus, said the point of the plan, championed by freshman Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, is to get a conversation going.

“I look at the Green New Deal as something that’s obviously still in formation,” Mr. Pocan said. “What this is, is a call to action on climate change.”

The Green New Deal is a framework calling for a major overhaul of the U.S. economy, discouraging the use of fossil fuels and mandating energy efficiency repairs to existing buildings, as well as an expansion of the government’s safety net.

The AFL-CIO last week said the framework was unworkable and could spawn an economic upheaval that would hurt American jobs.

“We will not accept proposals that could cause immediate harm to millions of our members and their families,” the union wrote in a letter to Ms. Ocasio-Cortez and Sen. Ed Markey, the chief sponsors of the Green New Deal. “We will not stand by and allow threats to our members’ jobs and their families’ standard of living to go unanswered.”

Those concerns must be taken into account before the Green New Deal moves forward, Mr. Pocan and Ms. Jayapal said Tuesday.

They said it’s possible some fossil fuel economy jobs will be replaced by renewable energy jobs.

“Inevitably, especially when you look at some of the states and what they’re putting forward, this is the direction we’re going and let’s figure out how to have those jobs,” Mr. Pocan said.

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