Climate activists confront Manchin outside of Capitol

A small group of climate activists confronted Sen. Joe ManchinJoe ManchinPelosi sidesteps progressives' March 1 deadline for Build Back Better On The Money — Fed's inflation tracker at fastest pace since '82 Billionaire GOP donor maxed out to Manchin following his Build Back Better opposition MORE (D-W.Va.) as he left the Capitol on Tuesday, urging him to support more robust climate provisions as part of Democrats' sweeping spending package.

Manchin was speaking with a group of reporters as he left the Capitol early Tuesday afternoon when the climate activists approached him and asked, "Why are you blocking our bill?"

"We really need this bill. I'm scared of my future," one activist told Manchin.

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Manchin briefly engaged with the group, which followed him as he walked from the Capitol back to the Senate office buildings. Manchin's staff tried to wrap up the gaggle as the group followed him across the street near the Dirksen Senate Office Building.

Manchin asked one of the activists, who identified herself as Magnolia and told Manchin that she had family in Latin America, to be "a little more kind."

"If you want to be quiet for a second, I can talk to you. ... The United States does more than any nation on Earth to clean up our environment. We have basically reduced emissions in the last 10 years more than anybody else," Manchin said.

"Yet you think America is doing this, and that is just not fair," Manchin added.

Magnolia told Manchin that she didn't believe America was doing enough to fight climate change, adding that she was "so scared for my future."

"Can you listen to the facts?" Manchin asked when the group started to interrupt him. "The United States of America has 504 ... coal power plants. China has 2,991 coal-fired plants. And they're building 460 more. OK, India — India has over 800," Manchin said.

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Reporters tried to ask Manchin questions about Medicaid expansion in the spending bill, if he was meeting with President BidenJoe BidenFormer chairman of Wisconsin GOP party signals he will comply with Jan. 6 committee subpoena Romney tests positive for coronavirus Pelosi sidesteps progressives' March 1 deadline for Build Back Better MORE and if there could be a framework this week. But those questions were largely drowned out.

The confrontation outside the Capitol comes as Manchin has faced broad ire from climate groups over his opposition to the Clean Electricity Performance Program, which incentivizes companies toward clean energy sources.

A group of Democrats, including Senate Majority Leader Charles SchumerChuck SchumerThe Hill's Morning Report - Democrats sense opportunity with SCOTUS vacancy Schumer finds unity moment in Supreme Court fight Breyer retirement throws curveball into midterms MORE (D-N.Y.), met with Manchin on Monday night as they tried to sort out the climate section of the bill, including whether a fee on methane emissions would be included.

“My hope is it's going to be in,” said Sen. Tom CarperThomas (Tom) Richard CarperNearly 200 Democrats back EPA in Supreme Court emissions case Bottom line Biden comments add momentum to spending bill's climate measures  MORE (D-Del.), who chairs the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee.

Climate activists also confronted Manchin after he spoke at an event with the Economic Club earlier Tuesday morning, according to video provided by progressive group the Sunrise Movement.