One of the most progressive members of Congress is just one step away from leading a subcommittee in the House of Representatives that oversees how oil and gas is drilled on public lands in the U.S.
New York Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez of New York is the ranking member on the House’s Energy and Mineral Resources Subcommittee. That means that if Democrats are able to retake control of the House following the 2024 election, AOC would be the top candidate to take over as the chair of that committee.
That could be quite a scary proposition to people who are in favor of a more traditional energy industry in the U.S., as AOC and her progressive pals firmly stand by what’s known as the Green New Deal. In fact, AOC reintroduced the bill recently in an attempt to kick-start the movement away from a reliance on fossil fuels and toward alternative energy sources.
The Green New Deal was originally introduced back in 2019, and many people have criticized it as being way too radical and way too expensive. It never passed through Congress the first time, and actually stands next to no chance of even making it out of the House in this term with Republicans in control.
However, if Democrats were to retake control of the House in two years’ time, it’s possible the Green New Deal could at least make its way over to the Senate for debate.
At the same time that AOC reintroduced her bill, two of her progressive allies in Congress, Senator Edward Markey from Massachusetts and Representative Ro Khanna from California, introduced a similar progressive health care bill that they’re calling the Green New Deal for Health.
While the Green New Deal never passed through Congress as AOC introduced it, the congresswoman still celebrated some victories she’s been able to claim in the four years since it was first brought up. Speaking to E&E News recently, she explained:
“A lot of our victories have already begun, for example, by breaking off some of the pieces [of the Green New Deal] and incorporating it in different areas of must-pass legislation including the Inflation Reduction Act.”
Both AOC’s office and Markey’s office are maintaining a document that they’re always updating that tracks all the ways that the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law and Inflation Reduction Act have been able to implement some of the core tenets that were put forth in the Green New Deal.
The Inflation Reduction Act in particular will see the U.S. drawdown on the coal-fire power it uses in the next few years, in favor of alternative energy sources.
Goldman Sachs analysts have estimated that the Inflation Reduction Act will include about $1.2 trillion in total government subsidies provided to green energy projects over just the next 10 years. That total is quite substantially higher than the $370 billion that the federal government initially estimated when the bill was passed.
More policies like this would likely move forward with AOC in a power position in a Democrat-led House. Alongside AOC, progressives such as Khanna, Missouri Representative Cori Bush and New York Representative Jamaal Bowman would all find themselves in high-ranking House positions.