Energy & Environment

Schumer pledges climate action amid Democratic divide

Majority Leader Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.) arrives for a press conference after the weekly policy luncheon on Tuesday, July 20, 2021.
Greg Nash

Senate Majority Leader Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.) pledged to tackle climate change, following comments from Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) opposing a key climate proposal in the reconciliation bill being crafted by Democrats. 

“We can’t let this moment pass by. It’s our time to act,” Schumer said at a climate rally Monday outside the Capitol, where several other lawmakers also spoke. 

“The Senate will act in a way that’s commensurate with the magnitude of the climate crisis, by reducing carbon pollution, making our infrastructure more resilient, creating green jobs of the future, and as we move towards climate resiliency, do it with economic justice once and for all,” he added. 

Though Schumer didn’t refer to Manchin’s opposition directly, his comments come after the West Virginia moderate cast doubt on whether and to what extend Democrats will be able to pass significant climate reforms.

Manchin on Sunday expressed opposition to a key climate policy called the clean electricity payment program, under which power providers would be paid to shift towards clean electricity. 

“The transition is happening. Now they’re wanting to pay companies to do what they’re already doing. It makes no sense to me at all for us to take billions of dollars and pay utilities for what they’re going to do as the market transitions,” Manchin said over the weekend. 

He also reiterated his opposition to the overall price tag for the Democrats’ $3.5 trillion spending package. 

Asked after the event what should be done about the divided caucus, Rep. Sean Casten (D-Ill.) said, “It’s on leadership.”

“Bring a vote to the floor. Don’t squeeze the good folks on this,” Casten said. 

Tags Charles Schumer Chuck Schumer Climate change Joe Manchin Sean Casten

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