Skip to main content

Sign up for our newsletter.

Quality journalism. Progressive values. Direct to your inbox.

Dear Common Dreams Readers:
Corporations and billionaires have their own media. Shouldn't we? When you “follow the money” that funds our independent journalism, it all leads back to this: people like you. Our supporters are what allows us to produce journalism in the public interest that is beholden only to people, our planet, and the common good. Please support our Mid-Year Campaign so that we always have a newsroom for the people that is funded by the people. Thank you for your support. --Jon Queally, managing editor

Join the small group of generous readers who donate, keeping Common Dreams free for millions of people each year. Without your help, we won’t survive.

Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez speaks at a rally

Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez speaks at a rally in New York City on June 5, 2021. (Photo: Lev Radin/Pacific Press/LightRocket via Getty Images)

'No Climate, No Deal': Dems Warn Biden Against Cutting Green Energy From Infrastructure Plan

"Mitch McConnell and the Koch brothers are not worth setting the planet on fire for," said Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez.

Jake Johnson

Progressive members of Congress on Wednesday signaled they would be willing to withhold their votes from any infrastructure package that skimps on climate action after one of President Joe Biden's top advisers suggested that key green energy proposals could be excluded from an eventual bill.

"Biden and Senate Dems should take a step back and ask themselves if playing patty-cake with GOP senators is really worth the dismantling of people's voting rights, setting the planet on fire, allowing massive corporations and the wealthy to not pay their fair share of taxes, etc."
—Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez

"An infrastructure package that goes light on climate and clean energy should not count on every Democratic vote," Sen. Martin Heinrich (D-N.M.), a Green New Deal supporter, tweeted in response to National Climate Adviser Gina McCarthy's suggestion Tuesday that climate policies proposed in Biden's original American Jobs Plansuch as a clean electricity standard—could be left on the cutting room floor as the president seeks a compromise deal with a bipartisan group of senators.

Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.), the lead House sponsor of the Green New Deal resolution, echoed Heinrich, declaring, "[Republican Senate Minority Leader] Mitch McConnell and the Koch brothers are not worth setting the planet on fire for."

"I know some Dems may disagree with me," Ocasio-Cortez added in an apparent jab at Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.), a member of the bipartisan group that Biden turned to after cutting off infrastructure negotiations with Sen. Shelley Moore Capito (R-W.Va.) on Tuesday.

As CNBC reported earlier this week, a dark money group backed by billionaire oil mogul Charles Koch is lobbying Manchin to oppose much of the Democratic agenda, including a sweeping bill to protect and expand voting rights.

"President Biden and Senate Dems should take a step back and ask themselves if playing patty-cake with GOP senators is really worth the dismantling of people's voting rights, setting the planet on fire, allowing massive corporations and the wealthy to not pay their fair share of taxes, etc.," said Ocasio-Cortez, who has backed progressive calls for $10 trillion in infrastructure and climate spending over the next decade.

With such slim congressional majorities, Democrats can't afford many defections if they hope to pass an infrastructure and climate package amid unanimous Republican opposition. In the Senate, they can't lose a single vote.

"No climate, no deal," Sen. Ed Markey (D-Mass.) tweeted Wednesday.

Despite the GOP's repeated failure to propose a viable alternative to Biden's American Jobs Plan, the president plans to continue his push for a bipartisan deal by negotiating with a group of 20 senators led by Sens. Mitt Romney (R-Utah.), Kyrsten Sinema (D-Ariz.), Rob Portman (R-Ohio), and Manchin.

"Our plan on climate needs to be built to sustain our planet, not the fossil fuel industry."
—Rep. Jamaal Bowman

The bipartisan group is reportedly working on a $900 billion infrastructure framework, less than half of the roughly $2.2 trillion in spending Biden called for in his opening offer. It's unclear how much of the funding under the bipartisan framework would go toward electrical vehicle development, the retrofitting of homes and commercial buildings, clean energy investments, and other priorities Biden included in his initial package.

Sen. Jon Tester (D-Mont.), a member of the bipartisan group, told reporters Wednesday that the 20 senators do not intend to include tax hikes on corporations or the rich in their proposal—a likely non-starter for progressives and the White House. Romney confirmed that Republicans would not accept tax increases as part of any infrastructure deal.

Biden's decision to shift his attention to the bipartisan group came days after dozens of activists with the youth-led Sunrise Movement rallied at the White House—and at one point blockaded the entrance—to demonstrate their opposition to any watered-down infrastructure deal with the GOP.

After new data showed that atmospheric carbon dioxide reached its highest level in over four million years during the month of May, Sunrise executive director Varshini Prakash warned in a statement Tuesday that "Biden will either pass a historic infrastructure package with climate at its core, or he will have to look us in the eyes and tell us why he failed to do everything possible to stop the climate crisis while he had the power to do so."

"Anything less than a robust jobs and climate package is a death sentence for our generation," said Prakash. "Whether it's Capito or Romney, it should come as no surprise that the GOP wants to strip climate from the infrastructure package because he is literally working with a party of climate deniers. We can't wait for them to come around to the science on this and we will continue to fight until he delivers on the climate mandate he promised us."

Rep. Jamaal Bowman (D-N.Y.), who last week said he would "have a very hard time" voting for a bill significantly smaller than Biden's original American Jobs Plan, tweeted Wednesday that "this is literally a matter of life or death."

"Our plan on climate needs to be built to sustain our planet," Bowman added, "not the fossil fuel industry."

Our work is licensed under Creative Commons (CC BY-NC-ND 3.0). Feel free to republish and share widely.

Just a few days left in our crucial Mid-Year Campaign and we might not make it without your help.
Who funds our independent journalism? Readers like you who believe in our mission: To inform. To inspire. To ignite change for the common good. No corporate advertisers. No billionaire founder. Our non-partisan, nonprofit media model has only one source of revenue: The people who read and value this work and our mission. That's it.
And the model is simple: If everyone just gives whatever amount they can afford and think is reasonable—$3, $9, $29, or more—we can continue. If not enough do, we go dark.

All the small gifts add up to something otherwise impossible. Please join us today. Donate to Common Dreams. This is crunch time. We need you now.

'Yeah, And?': Ocasio-Cortez Embraces GOP Freakout Over Helping Women Skirt Abortion Bans

"Republicans are mad because I am sharing this information," said Rep. Ocasio-Cortez. "Too bad!"

Julia Conley ·

WATCH LIVE: Top Meadows Aide Cassidy Hutchinson Testifies at Surprise Jan. 6 Hearing

Hutchinson, who has spent more than 20 hours in deposition with the House panel, is expected to provide more damning evidence of the role that Meadows played in Trump's coup attempt.

Kenny Stancil ·

Oxfam Condemns G7 for Leaving 'Millions to Starve' as Global Hunger Surges

"Faced with the worst hunger crisis in a generation, the G7 have simply failed to take the action that is needed," said Max Lawson of Oxfam International.

Jake Johnson ·

'Horrific': 50 Migrants Found Dead in Abandoned Trailer Truck in Texas

"We need to end Title 42 and fix our broken immigration system so these unimaginable tragedies stop happening," said Rep. Chuy García. "People fleeing violence and poverty deserve a chance at a better life."

Jake Johnson ·

Harris Says White House Not 'Discussing' Use of Federal Land for Abortion Care

Sen. Elizabeth Warren and Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez are among the Democratic lawmakers who have expressed support for the idea as GOP-controlled states move to outlaw abortion.

Jake Johnson ·

Common Dreams Logo