Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez gave a blistering speech that shamed Republicans for dismissing the real harms of climate change to ordinary Americans.
Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY) slammed a Republican congressman for dishonestly claiming that it's "elitist" to combat climate change — when poor and middle-class kids are the ones most hurt when lawmakers fail to act on environmental issues.
The exchange happened on Tuesday during a hearing of the House Financial Services Committee.
"The Green New Deal is one that if you are a rich liberal from maybe New York or California, it sounds great, because you can afford to retrofit your home or build a new home that has zero emissions, that is energy efficient, affordable and safe," said Rep. Sean Duffy (R-WI).
Ocasio-Cortez immediately took Duffy to task for denying reality and insulting vulnerable communities — from her constituents in the Bronx struggling with asthma, to farmers in the Midwest struggling with historic floods.
"This is not an elitist issue — this is a quality of life issue," Ocasio-Cortez said.
"You want to tell people that their concern and their desire for clean air and clean water is elitist? Tell that to the kids in the South Bronx, which is suffering from the highest rates of childhood asthma in the country."
Or tell that to the kids in Flint, Michigan who are still being poisoned by lead in their drinking water, she added: "Their brains are damaged for the rest of their lives. Call them elitist."
The congresswoman also slammed Republicans for their ridiculous sham vote in the Senate attacking the Green New Deal, instead of taking the problem of climate change seriously.
"People are dying," she said.
She noted that "broad swaths of the Midwest are drowning right now" due to massive floods in states like Iowa and Nebraska that have occurred within the last week.
"And people are more concerned about helping oil companies than helping their own families? I don't think so," she said. "This is about our lives, American lives, and this should not be partisan."
Ocasio-Cortez concluded by making the scope of the current challenge crystal-clear.
"We are facing a national crisis," she said. "And if we do not ascend to that crisis, if we do not ascend to the levels in which we were threatened in the Great Depression, when we were threatened in World War II — if we do not ascend to those levels, if we tell the American public that we are more willing to invest and bail out big banks than we are willing to invest in our farmers and our urban families? Then I don't know what we're here doing."
The Republican approach to climate change has been to deny the problem exists and to enable massive pollution. Trump, the leader of the Republican Party, has said that climate change is a "hoax" created by the Chinese government.
Millions of people around the world are currently suffering from the already-extreme changes to the earth's climate — yet Republicans avoid reality and attacks proposed solutions as "elitist."
But leaders like Ocasio-Cortez are calling them out and shaming them for hurting families from coast to coast, and around the world.
Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.