WASHINGTON, D.C. -- Green Party leaders said today that Democrats in Congress are retreating from their claim to be an opposition party during Donald Trump's presidency.
"We're seeing this over and over. Just enough Democrats are voting for Trump's appointees to enable their confirmation. In some cases, dangerous and unqualified appointees are getting confirmed with little or no Democratic objection. That's not what an opposition party does," said Laura Wells, 2010 Green Party candidate for Governor of California.
"Democratic indulgence for Trump, more than anything else, proves that we desperately need more than two parties in Congress. The Green Party is emerging as the real resistance to Trump agenda in the sphere of electoral politics," said Ms. Wells.
Four Democrats voted to confirm Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, who intends to expand the extraction, burning, and consumption of more fossil fuels at least until 2040. No Republican voted against him. Mr. Tillerson is former CEO of ExxonMobil, which has a long history of attacks against the environment, the rights of workers and indigenous populations around the world, and climate scientists, including suppression of evidence from Exxon's own researchers who warned the company about global warming.
Among Democrats who voted to confirm Ben Carson, who has no qualifications to head the Dept. of Housing and Urban Development, is progressive leader Sen. Elizabeth Warren (Mass.).
"Resistance Leader" Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) has already voted to approve several of President Trump's nominees.
Green Party leaders noted that many Democrats are likely to confirm Neil Gorsuch, Mr. Trump's nominee for the Supreme Court, despite Justice Gorsuch's record of favoritism towards corporate owners and management over workers and his hostility towards women's reproductive freedom and LGBTQiA+ rights. Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) has called on Democrats to "give the man a chance".
Mr. Trump has promised to withdraw the U.S. from the Paris accords and from efforts to keep the global temperature's average rise to well below 2C.
Greens warned that Scott Pruitt's appointment and the Trump Administration's climate and energy policies would make the U.S. a global menace as the atmosphere continues to heat up. Greens said that Mr. Trump's denialism made him even more dangerous than the Obama Administration, which the Green Party had criticized for undermining international agreements on climate change.
"We're witnessing indications that many of Donald Trump's accomplishments as president will be the result of bipartisanship. By resisting compromise in pursuit of their agenda, Republicans have made themselves the political center of gravity. They'll continue to pull Democrats towards the right as long as the political field is effectively restricted to two parties," said Andrea Mérida-Cuéllar, co-chair of the Green Party of the United States and co-chair of the party's Latinx Caucus.
We call on our Congressional delegation to:
- Call for a thorough review of all elements regarding the construction of a natural gas power plant in Burrillville and an LNG facility in Providence that would fall under their purview as designated by the Commerce Clause listed in the United States Constitution under Article I, Section 8, Clause 3. They have the power "To regulate Commerce with foreign Nations, and among the several States, and with the Indian Tribes" and we believe the sale of fracked natural gas across state lines by Invenergy, the plant's operators, falls under their responsibilities to their constituency.
- Promote an immediate conversion to a sustainable energy grid that moves away from carbon pollution and towards a green solution using solar, wind, hydroelectric, and geothermal technologies. Recent scientific studies continue to show that climate change is accelerating and that polar ice melt is already to the point that will have discernible and lasting impact on the homes and lives of everyday Rhode Islanders. A major cause of this includes the proliferation of fracking in the past eight years that has flooded the atmosphere with historic levels of greenhouse gasses like methane.
- Push for the passage of single-payer Medicare for All healthcare to replace the Affordable Care Act. Prior to the election the ACA was in serious trouble due to the results of the proposed merger of Aetna and Humana. As health insurance expert and analyst Dr. John Geyman wrote in a recent column for TruthOut, "We have to ask who the health care system is for -- patients and families or corporate interests that feed off the backs of sick people and taxpayer money. If the GOP pursues its claimed conservative principles, such as maximizing efficiency and choice, enhancing value, lowering costs, and reining in excess bureaucracy, another alternative is in plain sight, which supports these principles -- single-payer national health insurance (NHI)."
- End the ongoing effort to marginalize progressive calls for change and avoid responsibility for a failed presidential campaign that elected Donald Trump through an ongoing hawkish position towards Russia that has been disproven by nonpartisan media and voting experts. The 2016 primaries were some of the most corrupt and compromised possible and this continued aggression on the Russian border through expansion of NATO militarism had nothing to do with that vote hacking.
- Pledge to prevent the further privatization of Rhode Island's public infrastructure and institutions by both federal and local officials who have the interests of big business rather than the 99% in mind.