U.S. Rep. Marcia Fudge told constituents at a crowded town hall meeting last Saturday that the Green New Deal is not strong enough to impact significant change. “It has no meat. It has no teeth.”
House Resolution 109 “is nothing more than a sense of Congress,” Rep. Fudge, D-Warrensville Heights, said to a packed auditorium at the Eastern Campus of Cuyahoga Community College in Highland Hills.
In response, a man in the audience loudly voiced his disagreement. “We have to do it now. We only have 12 years,” he yelled before he was escorted out of the meeting. “We’re sitting here talking. We need a World War II effort.”
Though Rep. Fudge voted in favor of HR 109, many constituents asked her to sign on as a sponsor. She said that if the residents of District 11 want her to sign on, she will.
Since the Green New Deal is a resolution and not a bill, it would not bring change. Bills carry more weight than a nonbinding resolution that reflects what lawmakers believe should be done, she said.
Several goals of the Green New Deal include achieving net-zero greenhouse gas emissions, building resilience against climate change-related disasters, using clean and renewable energy sources to meet 100 percent of the United States’ energy demands and cleaning up existing hazardous waste sites, according to HR 109.
“I will take another look at it,” Rep. Fudge said. “I believe in what they’re trying to do. I believe that is something that we are probably going to address very shortly. But I also want to see the information, the data and the bill that comes out of the climate change committee.”
Rep. Fudge also fielded questions about rising healthcare costs and how to lower drug prices. Congress needs to negotiate the prices, she explained, but presidents over the last 25 years have not wanted to do so. Some drug companies have offered to give a few free samples if a patient expresses concern with the cost.
“It’s not enough,” she said. “We are determined to negotiate drug prices.”
Fritz Neil of Shaker Heights thanked Rep. Fudge for co-sponsoring HR 1384, known as the Medicare for All Act, and added that it is a crucial component of the Green New Deal.
“It provides the framework for the legislation that needs to be passed. The Green New Deal involves the creation of millions of new jobs and seeks to prevent the historic oppression of communities of color and the poor and low-income workers and those without housing,” Mr. Neil said.
Rep. Fudge also touched on a variety of other topics, including gridlock in Congress, Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s report and the 2020 census. One man asked what the House of Representatives could do in response to President Donald Trump pulling out of the Paris Climate Accord. She explained that the House would overturn it, but cannot get a vote from the Senate.
“[Republican Senate Majority Leader] Mitch McConnell is holding up well over 100 bills that we have sent him from the House, including just to protect elections,” Rep. Fudge said. “You need to call (Republican) Sen. Rob Portman’s office and say, ‘When are you going to fight for a vote for the people that you represent?’”
She also addressed the issue of Russia’s alleged interference in the 2016 presidential election, stating that Americans do not know if it altered election results. Rep. Fudge said that this interference is far from over and said that the social media from the alleged interference could be used in the 2020 presidential election.
In addition, she stressed the importance of an accurate count in District 11 for the 2020 census. Rep. Fudge said that the census helps determine how much funding regions will receive for housing and infrastructure. President Trump’s administration, she said, does not want an accurate count.
“They want to do everything online. We know that there are more than 20 percent of people in this district that have no access on a daily basis to the Internet or to broadband,” Rep. Fudge said. “We have to get an accurate census because they want an undercount.”
Rep. Fudge has been in office for about 11 years and represents 32 communities including Pepper Pike, Orange, Woodmere and Glenwillow.