During Tuesday night’s debate, Biden was asked by moderator Chris Wallace if he supported the Green New Deal, a wide-ranging joint, nonbinding resolution to combat climate change introduced by Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and Sen. Ed Markey.
“No, I don’t support the Green New Deal,” Biden said.
“Oh you don’t? Oh, well, that’s a big statement,” Trump interrupted.
“I support the Biden plan that I put forward,” Biden said, “which is different than what (Trump) calls the ‘radical’ Green New Deal.”
Facts First: This needs context. Biden’s campaign website does say the resolution is a “crucial framework” for addressing climate change, but his own plan differs in several ways from the GND. In particular, Biden’s plan does not include some of the GND’s proposed economic actions such as guaranteeing a job for every American.
After lauding the “framework” of the GND, Biden’s campaign webpage on the environment lays out the bullet points of Biden’s own plan to combat climate change, which includes items like building out energy efficient infrastructure and a goal for the US to reach zero-emissions by 2050.
While the two plans overlap on some environmental objectives, Biden’s plan does not include many of the social welfare proposals as the GND. For instance, Biden is not calling for a guaranteed job for each American with family and medical leave and paid vacations as the GND proposes.
In other ways, the proposals differ less dramatically. Biden’s plan also has a goal of creating a carbon pollution-free energy sector by 2035, whereas the GND proposed reaching 100% clean power in 10 years.
In a post-debate email blast, the Trump campaign attacked Biden over his comments, saying that “Biden cannot distance himself from his embrace of the (GND) no matter how hard he tries.”
Biden’s answer during the debate is not the first time he has been nuanced in discussing the GND. In a March Democratic primary debate with Sen. Bernie Sanders of Vermont, Biden said of Sanders’ GND climate proposal, “We disagree on the detail of how we do it, but we don’t disagree on the principle” of creating a Green New Deal.
On Wednesday, Biden reiterated this stance, telling reporters “the Green New Deal that the President keeps trying to talk about, it’s not a bad deal, but it’s not the plan I have. That’s the Biden green deal, that’s what it’s about.”
On Twitter Tuesday night, Ocasio-Cortez said Biden not supporting the GND “isn’t news.”
“Our differences are exactly why I joined Biden’s Climate Unity Task Force – so we could set aside our differences & figure out an aggressive climate plan to address the planetary crisis at our feet.”
Biden is walking a fine line, but praising the 14-page, nonbinding resolution as a “crucial framework” is not the same as fully supporting the potential policies and proposals from the Green New Deal.