On Thursday April 4th, the House Energy and Commerce Committee marked up H.R. 9, the Climate Action Now Act, which was introduced only the week before. In so doing, it skipped several steps normally taken before such a markup, including holding a substantive hearing on the bill.
Ironically, this comes shortly after Senate Democratic supporters of the Green New Deal complained about Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell’s (R-KY) decision to bring that bill to a vote. Lead sponsor Sen. Ed Markey (D-MA) specifically objected to the fact that the bill had not yet been the subject of any hearings and called the vote a “mockery” and a “sham.” None of the twelve Democratic co-sponsors voted for their own bill, nor did any other Democrat. Senate Republicans all opposed it.
The two bills differ mainly on how much they reveal. The Green New Deal went into some detail on its greenhouse gas-reducing measures. This includes provisions that would be exorbitant (such as retrofitting every building), technologically impossible (such as switching to 100 percent renewable electricity), and downright ridiculous (such as forcing drivers into zero emissions vehicles) and all within ten years. Needless to say, it was not going over very well with the public and especially those aware of its provisions. In contrast, H.R. 9 directs the president to effectively get back into the Paris Climate Agreement by accepting America’s emissions reduction targets, but contains no specifics on how to go about meeting them. Both bills would ultimately require many of the same measures, but only the Green New Deal is up-front with the public about them. Rep. Bill Flores (R-TX) offered to provide the missing details to H.R. 9 by introducing an amendment that would add the Green New Deal to it, but the amendment was ruled non-germane and withdrawn.
H.R. 9 was passed out of committee on a party line vote with the Democratic majority all in favor. The bill now moves on to the full House of Representatives for a vote.