“I can’t support a bill that doesn’t have a strong climate title,” said Sen. Chris Murphy, a Democrat from Connecticut. “There are a lot of different ways to do this. But I cannot support an invoice that does not make a significant down payment. “
The concerns, echoed by a range of Democratic lawmakers, come after Manchin refused to budge from his months-long opposition to giving $ 150 billion in new incentives to power plants to use cleaner fuels in an effort to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by up to 52% by 2030.
Democrats are now looking for new alternatives, but it is unclear how they will achieve their goals – while keeping the progressives at bay and without eliciting opposition from West Virginia Manchin, who represents a coal-producing state and from whom they have. need the vote to pass a bill. .
Senate Majority Whip Dick Durbin said on Monday that if Democrats fail to tackle climate change “seriously and meaningfully” then “shame on us.” But with the revenue decline, he acknowledged that it was clear that some things important to Democrats won’t make it.
The Illinois Democrat added he was “sorry Senator Manchin is opposed” to the clean energy program.
Senator Richard Blumenthal, a Democrat from Connecticut, said the legislation must include a “substantive climate change provision” for him to support, but said he was open to ideas and discussions on what it would look like.
“An important provision on climate change is essential to this bill for my support,” said Blumenthal. Adding: “But I’m open to ideas on what that should be in the details. “
Senator Sheldon Whitehouse, a Democrat from Rhode Island, said for the time being he remained optimistic about the state of negotiations and the completion of the “necessary emissions reductions” package.
“If we can put together a package that provides the necessary emission reductions so that we are on the safe path… then I think we can land this plane,” he said. “And we have lots of ideas. So for now, I am optimistic. “
He added, however, that “It’s not something that, you know, we’re just going to walk away and settle for half a loaf of bread.” “
When asked if he was not happy with what had been agreed to whether he would still support the package, Whitehouse declined to say, responding that: “These are private conversations that I have with the White House and the leaders. ”
When Durbin was asked about several members of his caucus, such as Whitehouse, Ed Markey of Massachusetts and Senator Jeff Merkley of Oregon, saying they needed strong climate provisions to support the package, he said: ” You have just named three people who are probably the most knowledgeable in the Senate on the subject. And if they have an alternative to the clean electricity program, I want to give them the chance to offer it as a replacement, if they have one. “
Other Democrats have said they expect certain climate-related provisions to be incorporated into the bill despite Manchin’s opposition to parts of the proposal.
“If Joe’s position on the clean electricity proposal is what it is, I’m very disappointed,” said Senator Mazie Hirono, a Democrat from Hawaii. “On the other hand, there are other climate provisions in the bill – tax credits and stuff – amounting to about $ 300 billion. “
She admitted Democrats had known about Manchin’s concerns for several weeks, but hoped they might change their mind.
“There is always hope, you know that,” she said. “Discussions are underway with him, but I don’t know if we’re ready to throw in the towel. “
Senator Raphael Warnock, a Democrat from Georgia, agreed.
“I think there are a number of ways we approach climate provisions, in various ways, in the bill and I think ultimately there will be climate provisions in the bill.” , did he declare.
Democratic Senator Tim Kaine of Virginia said discussions on the climate issue would resume on Tuesday when the full Democratic caucus meets for a political lunch on Capitol Hill and stressed that Democrats, now in the majority, understand they need to do something. thing.
“I’m not giving up,” he said. “We’ll all be in the same room tomorrow and talk about it. “
Democratic Senator Chris Coons of Delaware has said he will not agree to the climate provisions being removed from the bill.
“I accept that there is still a lot of negotiations to be done,” he said.