Utah Sen. Mike Lee on Tuesday called babies and families the solution to climate change in response to a Democratic plan to overhaul the economy through the Green New Deal proposal.
The Republican made the suggestion while blasting the Green New Deal on the Senate floor. Lee employed poster-board sized pictures of the superhero Aquaman and former President Ronald Reagan riding a velociraptor so he could “consider the Green New Deal with the seriousness it deserves.”
After lambasting the policy as “the legislative equivalent of Austin Powers’ Dr. Evil demanding ‘sharks with frickin’ lasers on their heads,’” Lee offered his own solution.
“The solution to climate change is not this un-serious resolution that we’re considering this week in the Senate, but rather the serious business of human flourishing,” Lee said. “The solution to so many of our problems, at all times and in all places, is to fall in love, get married and have some kids.”
Lee argued that, because climate change is an engineering challenge, it will be best solved through American families and increasing the US population.
“Problems of human imagination are not solved by more laws, they’re solved by more humans,” he said. “More people mean bigger markets for more innovation. More babies mean forward-looking adults, the sort we need to tackle long-term, large-scale problems.”
Lee is currently working on legislation to support families by providing paid parental leave, his press secretary, Conn Carroll, told CNN.
The senator’s comments came ahead of a vote Tuesday afternoon on the Green New Deal, a massive policy proposal championed by freshman Rep. Alexandria Oscasio Cortez, a New York Democrat. The vote is expected to be blocked by Democrats, who support many of the ideas in the plan but believed Republicans are trying to score political points by forcing a vote.
Lee, however, called the Green New Deal “ridiculous,” comparing it to an image of Reagan firing a machine gun while riding a dinosaur. He said that, while the image is “awesome” it did not depict reality.
“This image has as much to do with overcoming communism in 20th Century as the Green New Deal has to do with overcoming climate change in the 21st,” Lee said.
He called the policy a “token of tribal identity” rather than a serious policy proposal. He pointed to comments in a set of FAQs, which supporters of the proposal said were prematurely published, that called for getting rid “of farting cows and airplanes.” The actual proposal introduced in Congress does not contain that idea.
He claimed that, if the policy passed, those in Alaska would need to travel on tauntauns, mythical creatures from the Star Wars movie franchise. Meanwhile, he said a fleet of 20-foot seahorses, the kind ridden by Aquaman, would be necessary to maintain Hawaii’s tourism industry.
Though Lee recognized the proposals on planes and cows are not part of the Green New Deal itself, he said their accidental publication in FAQs was still worrisome.
“The supporters of the Green New Deal want Americans to trust them to reorganize our entire society, our entire economy and restructure our very way of life. And they couldn’t even figure out how to send out the right press release,” Lee said.
Ocasio-Cortez fired back at Lee on Twitter, Tuesday.
“Like many other women + working people, I occasionally suffer from impostor syndrome: those small moments, especially on hard days, where you wonder if the haters are right. But then they do things like this to clear it right up. If this guy can be Senator, you can do anything,” she tweeted.
In another post, the congresswoman criticized Lee for using his congressional allowance on the Aquaman poster while calling the Green New Deal a waste of money.