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Sunrise Movement activists protest in front of the White House

Activists with the Sunrise Movement protest in front of the White House on June 4, 2021. (Photo: Saul Loeb/AFP via Getty Images)

'$3.5 Trillion Isn't Enough': Sunrise Says House Dems Must Go Bigger Than Senate on Climate

"The House must put forward a larger investment than this and hold the line on what we need," said the youth-led Sunrise Movement. "Climate priorities cannot be cut."

Jake Johnson

The youth-led Sunrise Movement on Wednesday rejected Senate Democrats' newly unveiled $3.5 trillion spending framework as badly inadequate to the task of combating the climate emergency and urged the House to "go bigger" with its own proposal.

"This is the first time since 2009 that Democrats have control of both chambers of Congress and the White House. They cannot afford to waste this opportunity."
—Lauren Maunus, Sunrise Movement

"The House must put forward a larger investment than this and hold the line on what we need," Lauren Maunus, Sunrise's advocacy director, said in a statement. "Climate priorities cannot be cut. We expect Democrats to pass the boldest budget resolution before they go home for recess, and a robust infrastructure package soon after. There should be no compromise and no excuses to get this done."

The Sunrise Movement is demanding at least $10 trillion in spending over the next decade to tackle the climate emergency, which is wreaking havoc across the U.S. and around the world as global temperatures continue to rise unabated. Sunrise activists have been increasingly vocal in their push for a sweeping climate package in recent weeks, holding protests and engaging in civil disobedience in front of the White House to demand that lawmakers take bold action.

"The climate crisis is undeniably here," said Maunus. "Families are losing their loved ones to scorching heatwaves, homes are being swept up by hurricanes in the Gulf South—and yet, our politicians are refusing to act in line with the scope of the crisis."

The $3.5 trillion spending resolution that the Senate Democratic leadership outlined late Tuesday could set the boundaries of a legislative package that Democrats hope to ultimately pass through the filibuster-proof reconciliation process.

But the Senate and House must first pass identical spending resolutions, meaning House Democrats could introduce their own larger proposal and pressure the upper chamber to go higher than the current $3.5 trillion ceiling.

Leaders of the nearly 100-member Congressional Progressive Caucus have said that dozens of House Democrats are prepared to withhold their votes if the reconciliation proposal does not include their priorities in a range of areas, from climate to housing to child care.

The final reconciliation bill is expected to include sizable investments in green energy, but climate activists argue that the top-line figure agreed upon by Senate Democrats is an indication that the spending will not be enough to drive down carbon emissions with the speed scientists say is necessary to avert further climate catastrophe.

"Our leaders must take this crisis seriously," Maunus said Wednesday. "This is the first time since 2009 that Democrats have control of both chambers of Congress and the White House. They cannot afford to waste this opportunity."

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