Brock Long, the head of the Federal Emergency Management Agency, resigned Wednesday after a two-year tenure in which he managed the response to historic wildfires and major hurricanes. He said in a letter to FEMA employees that he was resigning to spend more time at home with his family. His last day is March 8. Long did not mention the investigation by the agency’s watchdog that found he had used government vehicles without authorization, costing taxpayers tens of thousands of dollars. Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen said last fall that Long would repay the government and would not lose his job. —Lynde Langdon
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., is looking to force Democrats to take a position on the so-called Green New Deal, a sweeping proposal to address climate change and economic growth.
“We’re going to be voting on that in the Senate to give everybody an opportunity to go on record and see how they feel about the Green New Deal,” McConnell said at a news conference Tuesday. The proposal, put forward as a nonbinding resolution by Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, D-N.Y., and Sen. Ed Markey, D-Mass., aims to address climate change and create jobs but has drawn fire for the breadth of its goals, including guaranteeing jobs for all Americans.
While many Democrats, including top 2020 presidential contenders, have signed on to co-sponsor the resolution, pushing a vote on the matter would highlight divisions within the Democratic Party about the measure’s more controversial proposals. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., gave the Green New Deal a lukewarm reception but said she welcomed the enthusiasm behind it.
The vote could force lawmakers to pick between pleasing party activists and appearing too far left, or rejecting environmental proposals to take a more centrist economic approach.
Markey denounced McConnell’s move as political theater that fails to adequately debate the issues the resolution is meant to highlight.
“The principles of the Green New Deal resonate with the American people—a mission to save all of creation by investing in massive job creation,” he said in a statement. “The Green New Deal resolution has struck a powerful chord in this country, and Republicans, climate deniers, and the fossil fuel industry are going to end up on the wrong side of history.”
Sen. John Barrasso, R-Wyo., called the resolution “a raw deal for the American public” that would damage the economy and said it illustrated the “very hard-left turn that the Democratic Party has taken.”
McConnell has not set a time for potential vote. —Anne Walters Custer