Ayanna Pressley takes on Manchin and Sinema over climate proposals in $3.5-trillion reconciliation bill

Washington DC – Massachusetts Rep. Ayanna Pressley appeared on The Mehdi Hasan Show on Tuesday to speak on the importance of climate action in the $3.5-trillion Democratic reconciliation bill.

Massachusetts Rep. Ayanna Pressley says she will not stop fighting for climate action measures included in the $3.5-trillion reconciliation bill.
Massachusetts Rep. Ayanna Pressley says she will not stop fighting for climate action measures included in the $3.5-trillion reconciliation bill.  © IMAGO / ZUMA Wire

Climate measures are an essential part of infrastructure, Pressley argued.

"There are three things I'm calling for: the Civilian Conservation Corps, a transition to renewable energy, and a divestment from fossil fuels," the congresswoman explained.

Pressley also said climate action is a racial justice issue, as minorities will be hit hardest by climate-related disasters and resource shortages.

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"This is a matter of life and death," she put it bluntly.

But it's no secret not everyone in the Democratic Party feels the same.

Senators Joe Manchin of West Virginia and Kyrsten Sinema of Arizona have already stated they will not support a $3.5-trillion spending plan.

Senate Democrats require all 50 of their party members' votes to push through the reconciliation bill, meaning Manchin and Sinema could thwart the process entirely.

Pressley responds to Manchin and Sinema

Arizona Senator Kyrsten Sinema (l.) and West Virginia Senator Joe Manchin are throwing a wrench in their Democratic colleagues' plans to pass bold reconciliation measures.
Arizona Senator Kyrsten Sinema (l.) and West Virginia Senator Joe Manchin are throwing a wrench in their Democratic colleagues' plans to pass bold reconciliation measures.  © IMAGO / ZUMA Wire

Host Mehdi Hasan pointed out that Manchin, chair of the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee, "made his fortune as a coal broker and enjoys the backing of big coal and big oil."

Sinema, he said, has been monitoring the "costs" and "tax hikes" necessary for each provision in an effort to curb her colleagues' plans.

When questioned about Manchin and Sinema's opposition to the spending, Pressley responded, "3.5 trillion was already a compromise. This is simply the cost of making up for long overdue divestment and underinvestment in our communities."

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"If we stay the course and we tax the richest of the rich, it's a simple solution," she continued.

"Being in the majority must mean more than a talking point. It is about impact and us delivering for the American people. They don't care about an antiquated Senate process or Washington procedure. They care about impact, and that's what I'm focused on."

Democrats have faced criticism for controlling the House, the Senate, and the White House but still not passing priority legislation.

"We have a majority, and we have a mandate. And we need to act like it," she concluded.

Cover photo: IMAGO / ZUMA Wire

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