The US Senate will vote on a "Green New Deal" introduced by Democrats that aims to slash US carbon dioxide emissions to negligible levels in a decade.
"I've noted with great interest the Green New Deal, and we're going to be voting on that in the Senate, give everybody an opportunity to go on record and see how they feel about the Green New Deal," Republican Senate Leader Mitch McConnell said on Tuesday.
The document introduced last week marked the first formal attempt by lawmakers to define legislation to create big government-led investments in clean energy, infrastructure and social programs.
The goal is to transition the US economy away from burning fossil fuels and emitting greenhouse gases blamed for climate change, rising sea levels and severe storms.
The initiative was unveiled by Democratic Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, a rising political star, and Senator Edward Markey. The initiative has the backing of almost all the Democrats who have declared they are running in the 2020 presidential election.
Co-sponsor Markey said McConnell's call for a vote before hearings and a national debate on the Green New Deal was an attempt to sabotage the plan.
"They have offered no plan to address this economic and national security threat and want to sabotage any effort that makes Big Oil and corporate polluters pay," he said in a statement.
Republicans have used the Green New Deal to try to sow discord within the Democratic party, painting their political rivals as shifting to the left and embracing extreme policies.
"It's...interesting to watch all of these Democrat presidential candidates rubber-stamp this Green New Deal, which raises taxes, that overthrows really a productive energy market that we have right now in this country, raises energy costs, forces people out of work who are working in the energy field," said Wyoming Republican Senator John Barrasso, chair of the Senate environment committee.
President Donald Trump's administration opposes action on climate change and is focused on increasing production of oil, gas and coal on federal and private land.
Trump poked fun at the Green New Deal at his campaign rally in El Paso, Texas on Monday night, making exaggerated claims that the policy platform would force people to give up air travel and owning cows, a source of methane emissions.
The plan outlines some of the most aggressive climate goals ever put forward by Democratic lawmakers and clashes dramatically with the Trump administration's efforts to advance domestic oil, gas and coal production by rolling back environmental protections.
Australian Associated Press