Right-Wing Bogeyperson Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez Challenges Sen. Joe Manchin's Energy Committee Role

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Politico writes Monday that Ocasio-Cortez is leading a group of progressives very unsettled by the prospect of West Virginia Democrat Sen. Joe Manchin assuming a minority leadership position on the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee.

At a Friday rally outside the Capitol, Ocasio-Cortez joined other Democratic lawmakers and other incoming Democratic freshmen, arguing that allowing Manchin to become the ranking member of the Energy committee would undercut the momentum behind their "Green New Deal" proposal that calls for transitioning to 100 percent renewable energy sources within a decade of initiating the plan.

“The vast majority of Americans believe that we should not be taking money from the industries that we are legislating and really presiding over in our committee work, but in D.C. that’s a controversial opinion,” Ocasio-Cortez said alongside youth climate activists from the Sunrise Movement.

Manchin, who has a 47 percent lifetime score from the League of Conservation Voters Joe Manchin has a steady — and expected position given that he’s elected to support voters in his coal country state — regularly accepts election campaign contributions from the fossil fuel industry.

Supporters of the Green New Deal say the activism that propelled candidates like Ocasio-Cortez to Washington underscores the citizen support for action on climate change. The argument gained momentum with federal scientists from 13 agencies last week issuing a report forecasting dire economic and physical consequences across America if greenhouse gas emissions continue rising.

“A decade ago it was a little easier to hide behind, ‘I’ve got a state where we can’t do this,’” Rep. Chellie Pingree (D-Maine) told POLITICO after the event, noting her Maine delegation colleagues Sens. Angus King (I) and Susan Collins (R) often side with Democrats on climate issues. “It may be hard for Joe Manchin to be there, but I think there’s going to be a lot of other colleagues who say, ‘Hey, this needs to be on our agenda, we’ve got to move forward with some legislation.’ And they could be on both sides of the aisle.”