Rosen won't commit to vote for Green New Deal, is coordinating with Sisolak on response to plutonium shipments

Michelle Rindels
Michelle Rindels
Megan Messerly
Megan Messerly
Riley Snyder
Riley Snyder

Sen. Jacky Rosen would not commit Monday to supporting the Green New Deal when it’s supposed to come up for a vote next week in the Senate, saying she’ll decide once she sees the bill language, and adding that the country should take a “measured” approach to climate change.

Rosen’s remarks during a press conference after she delivered a speech to the Nevada Legislature —  her first since defeating Republican U.S. Sen. Dean Heller in 2018. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell is said to be scheduling a vote on the sweeping climate proposal, which strives for zero greenhouse emissions and is backed by some of the more left-leaning Democrats in Congress, as a way to put Democrats on the spot.

“Senator McConnell sometimes has a way of slipping a few extra things in there. And so we'll see when he actually puts on the floor and how we feel about it,” she said.

Asked whether she thinks a multibillion or multitrillion-dollar investment is needed to address climate change, she said jobs needed to be kept in mind.

“I do believe that climate change is real. I do believe we have to have a plan and we have to think carefully about this,” she said. “We have to do it in a measured way so that as we go forward, whatever we're changing .. we’ll make sure that we take care of people who might lose jobs or what unintended consequences there are.”

In the speech, Rosen promised to work closely with state lawmakers on health care, gun control, marijuana and economic development during a brief address to the Legislature on Monday.

She also vowed to oppose attempts by President Donald Trump’s administration to include funding for a nuclear waste repository at Yucca Mountain and slammed the Department of Energy for having “misled” state leaders after it secretly shipped radioactive plutonium to the state last year.

“This violation of our state’s rights and trust will not stand,” she said. “And our state and federal delegations will hold this Administration accountable for its reckless actions that put our environment, our economy, and our health at risk.”

In a talk with reporters after her speech, Rosen said she had met with Gov. Steve Sisolak on Monday afternoon and “determined a few more questions that I'd like to ask the Department of Energy about what they plan to do and if they're planning anything” in regards to the plutonium, she said. She also noted that Nevada Attorney General Aaron Ford had filed an injunction pushing back against any further shipments.

But she stopped short of committing to block any Department of Energy nominees. In response to the shipments, Sen. Catherine Cortez has promised to slow the process of confirming nominees and has voted against four candidates recently in a committee.

“I'm going to look at these nominees and if I don't believe them when I meet with them and look them in the eye, then I'm not going to vote for them because I'm not going to make something unsafe for Nevada,” Rosen said.

In her speech, the freshman senator also praised Ford for signing Nevada onto a federal lawsuit to defend the constitutionality of the Affordable Care Act and noted that she and her Democratic colleagues put forward a resolution that would require the Senate legal counsel to do the same. A coalition of 16 states, led by California, and the District of Columbia have led the defense of the law in the Texas lawsuit after the U.S. Justice Department announced last year that it wouldn’t.

“Close to 1.2 million Nevadans live with a pre-existing condition. 1.2 million. So we know what’s at stake for these families if they’re no longer able to have access to life-saving care, and that’s why we’re fighting back,” she said.

Rosen lauded Sisolak for investing in mental health services in his proposed budget and said that the state should be looking toward “forward thinking solutions” in health care including investing in telehealth, increasing medical residency spots and focusing on drug pricing transparency.

“No person should be forced to decide between paying their bills or paying for life-saving medication,” Rosen said.

Rosen added that she would also fight for accountability in the nation’s health-care system as a member of the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions. She also promised to support legislation that would “protect our state’s right to regulate marijuana” and would work to give cannabis businesses more banking access.

Rosen’s speech is the first of six planned addresses from Nevada’s congressional delegation to state lawmakers; Rep. Dina Titus is scheduled to address lawmakers on Tuesday, and fellow Sen. Catherine Cortez Masto will deliver her speech to the Legislature on Wednesday.


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