Senate Commerce Panel Chief Roger Wicker Critical of Green New Deal

Roger Wicker
Wicker (Rogelio V. Solis/Associated Press)

Add Sen. Roger Wicker to the list of senior Republicans coming out against Democrats’ ambitious progressive environmental policy manifesto referred to as the Green New Deal.

“The socialist-inspired plan aims to remake America’s economy and society through a radical new approach to energy, infrastructure and the role of government,” Wicker (R-Miss.), chairman of the committee that oversees freight policy, stated March 5.

“The push for a Green New Deal makes even less sense given the success of Republican policies in jump starting our economy with lower taxes and fewer unnecessary regulations. Our economy grew at a rate of nearly 3% last year,” the Republican added. “As our quality of life continues to improve and new opportunities abound for our people, the last thing we need is a Green New Deal.”

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky told reporters March 5 the Green New Deal likely would be considered on the floor of the chamber in the coming weeks.

Since its unveiling in February, key Republicans on transportation panels have strongly criticized the Green New Deal’s aim of minimizing the country’s carbon footprint. Missouri Rep. Sam Graves, ranking Republican on the House multimodal transportation panel, referred to the proposal as a “fantasy” when the panel met Feb. 26 to examine the impact climate change has on roads, bridges and other infrastructure.

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Transforming the transportation system to ensure it relies on sustainable sources of energy in a decade likely would cost in the range of $51 trillion to $93 trillion, the American Action Forum determined recently. The group is led by Douglas Holtz-Eakin, formerly the director of the Congressional Budget Office.

Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez of New York and Sen. Ed Markey of Massachusetts, both Democrats, teamed on the Green New Deal to respond to scientific evidence linking human activity to changes in the climate. Democratic authorizers have expressed interest in including infrastructure resilience provisions in comprehensive transportation legislation.