Energy & Environment

Green group pressures Sinema to spell out climate agenda

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A climate advocacy group is calling on Sen. Kyrsten Sinema (D-Ariz.) to spell out exactly what she thinks of Democrats’ climate proposals for their major spending bill. 

In a statement first shared with The Hill, Sierra Club Arizona Chapter director Sandy Bahr called on the senator to elaborate on her position. 

“In order for Arizonans and all Americans to have greater clarity on exactly how Senator Sinema proposes to cut, add or modify climate provisions and funding in the Build Back Better Act, we respectfully request that the Senator either make public her support for full funding of the entire suite of climate and clean energy programs in the bill, or make clear which policies she thinks Arizonans can do without as the urgency of the climate crisis deepens,” Bahr said. 

The Senator expressed support for climate action in an interview with the Arizona Republic last month. 

“In Arizona, we’re all too familiar with the impacts of a changing climate … from increasing wildfires to the severe droughts, to shrinking water levels at Lake Mead, damage to critical infrastructure — these are all the things that we’re dealing with inArizona every day,” she said. ”We know that a changing climate costs Arizonans. And right now, we have the opportunity to pass smart policies to address it —looking forward to that.” 

But the new pressure comes after the senator’s office denied a recent New York Times report, which claimed that the Democrat wanted to cut $100 billion in climate spending.

Bahr said that her group was “deeply troubled” by the Times’s report, but “hopeful” after the senator’s denials. 

Sinema spokesperson John LaBombard referred The Hill to a September statement in which he said that the senator provided detailed concerns to Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) and the White House. 
“Senator Sinema said publicly more than two months ago, before Senate passage of the bipartisan infrastructure bill, that she would not support a bill costing $3.5 trillion. In August, she shared detailed concerns and priorities, including dollar figures, directly with Senate Majority Leader Schumer and the White House,” LaBombard said at the time. 
“While we do not negotiate through the press – because Senator Sinema respects the integrity of those direct negotiations – she continues to engage directly in good-faith discussions with both President Biden and Senator Schumer to find common ground,” he added. 

Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) on Tuesday also also called on Sinema and other objectors to detail what exactly they want from the bill at large. 

“It is absolutely incumbent upon the two senators and the few members of the House in opposition to start telling us what they want,” Sanders told reporters. 

He specifically said that the time is “long overdue” for Sinema and fellow swing-senator Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) to state their positions. 

“What do they want to cut? Do they want to cut childcare? Do they not want to negotiate with the pharmaceutical industry? Do they not want us to be aggressive in terms of climate or affordable housing or community colleges?” he said. 

Tags Bernie Sanders Chuck Schumer Joe Biden Joe Manchin Kyrsten Sinema

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