More than 1,000 climate activists with the youth-led Sunrise Movement stormed the U.S. Capitol in Washington and participated in sit-ins at Democratic leaders’ offices on Monday.
The protesters demanded Reps. Nancy Pelosi, Steny Hoyer and Jim McGovern support Rep-elect Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez’s proposal of a “select committee” for a Green New Deal before the winter recess.
“Any politician who wants to be taken seriously by our generation needs to support solutions that match the scale and urgency of the climate crisis,” said Sunrise co-founder Varshini Prakash in a press release sent to EcoWatch. “If the Democrats want the youth vote in 2020, they need to get to work on a Green New Deal in 2019.”
Organizers said 143 young people were arrested during the sit-ins.
The select committee in the House of Representatives will basically develop a plan to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and to transition the United States to 100 percent renewable energy sources within 10 years of passing the Green New Deal legislation.
The number of Congresspeople who are backing Ocasio-Cortez’s proposal of a select committee has now grown to 22 House Democrats since the first Sunrise-led protest last month.
During that demonstration, 200 young activists and the rising political star from New York swarmed Pelosi’s office demanding that the Democratic leader support the Green New Deal.
Climate Leader Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez Joins Hundreds of Activists in Pelosi’s Office to Call for a Green New Deal https://t.co/htOnDH5S66
— 350NYC.org (@350NYC) November 14, 2018
Monday’s protest has already resulted in a commitment from Rep. McGovern (D-Mass), the incoming chair of the powerful House Rules Committee.
“I want to make sure that it happens,” McGovern said to rapturous cheers and applause. “I am committed to the House Select Committee on a Green New Deal to deal with the issue of climate change.”
“But we have to work out the details. We shouldn’t get hung up on every little detail,” he added.
— Sunrise Movement 🌅 (@sunrisemvmt) December 10, 2018
Hoyer, the Democratic whip, tweeted on Monday that he was “happy to hear” from the protesters and called climate change “one of the most pressing issues of our time.”
But in response, Prakash said: “We need you to do more than listen. We need you to take the #NoFossilFuelMoney pledge and support the proposed Select Committee on a Green New Deal by the end of the year. We’re doing our job, will you do yours?”
The group said that Rep. Hoyer has received more than $250,000 from fossil fuel executives, lobbyists and PACs during his 20-year career in Congress.
More than 140 environmental, economic and social justice organizations have backed the Green New Deal, according to the Sunrise Movement.
Pelosi—who is poised to take over as House Speaker—has not yet issued remarks regarding today’s protests.