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Sherrod Brown defends decision not to endorse Green New Deal

WASHINGTON - Sen. Sherrod Brown, a potential 2020 Democratic presidential contender, shrugged off arguments from liberals on Tuesday that signing onto the climate change plan known as the Green New Deal is essential to winning over the party’s base.

Of the declared and potential Democratic presidential candidates in the Senate, Brown is the only one who hasn’t signed onto the Green New Deal, which was released last week.

Brown’s decision to keep his name off of the Green New Deal and single-payer health care, two popular litmus tests for those who want the Democratic Party to embrace sweeping progressive ideas in 2020, gives him a unique lane in the presidential primary should he decide to formally join the campaign.

He told reporters Tuesday that he supports “aggressively addressing climate change,” though he has yet to settle on the specifics of his own agenda. He also said he views expanding Medicare to Americans age 50 and older as a more workable step than moving directly to single-payer health care.

A half-dozen of Brown’s potential rivals for the Democratic nomination have signed onto the Green New Deal, the so-called “Medicare for All” single-payer plan, or both.

President Donald Trump seized on the sweeping climate proposal Monday night during a rally in El Paso, Texas, seeking to portray Democrats as too extreme in their calls for drastically cutting U.S. carbon emissions to fight global warming.

For his part, Brown is touring early voting states and told reporters he doesn’t plan to make a final decision on whether to launch a presidential campaign until March. He declined on Tuesday to criticize any of his possible opponents in the primary, saying that “nobody worries me,” although “some face a more uphill climb than others.”
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