The Progressive


A project of Common Dreams

For Immediate Release
Contact: , Stevie O'Hanlon

“The GOP Hates Gen Z:” Teenagers Occupy Majority Leader McCarthy’s Office to Demand He Avoid a Government Shutdown and Fund Climate Action

This morning, over a hundred and fifty teenagers from around the country flooded into House Speaker Kevin McCarthy’s office to demand he support bridge funding to keep the government open, including funding FEMA to respond to climate disasters. They held signs that said, “The GOP Hates Gen Z” and “McCarthy: Aren’t you ashamed”. Thirty young people are currently risking arrest blocking the entrance to his office until Speaker McCarthy agrees to a deal.

We are fed up and we won’t take it any more ,” said Adah Crandall, 17, a Sunrise Movement organizer currently inside the speaker’s office. “As storms rage stronger, fires grow hotter, and heat waves grow more deadly, Kevin McCarthy is playing political games with our futures. We’re facing a climate emergency and McCarthy can’t even do his job.”

This threat to federal funding comes at a time when the climate crisis is threatening the safety of millions. 21 of the 30 hottest days ever recorded occurred in July this year. In August, nearly 100 people died in a record fire that swept Maui. So far, 2023 has been the worst year on record for billion-dollar climate disasters. Because of the impending shutdown, FEMA has already begun rationing millions of dollars in aid for disaster recovery in case that disaster strikes amidst the shutdown. The activists sitting in are demanding: (1) Fully funded FEMA climate disaster response; (2) No cuts to IRA programs, and (3) Reinstate the child tax credit without reducing Title 1 funding.

“Speaker McCarthy is a coward,” said Shiva Rajbhandari, 19, a Sunrise organizer and Gen Z elected official. “McCarthy and Republicans can either do their jobs, act on the climate crisis and fund our schools, or they can risk our economy appease a few extremists. Our generation is watching and we will hold them accountable for their actions.”

Today’s action comes as students at over 50 high schools across the country are campaigning to demand their school administrations enact a Green New Deal for Schools .

Sunrise Movement is a movement to stop climate change and create millions of good jobs in the process.