Sen. Joe Manchin confronted by climate activists: ‘We want to live!’

Sen. Joe Manchin was confronted on his walk to work on Thursday by student activists with the Sunrise Movement. The activists shouted “We want to live” at the senator.

“As long as [Sen. Manchin] takes MILLIONS from fossil fuel companies *and* plays a role in drafting climate legislation, people are going to keep calling it out,” read a tweet from the Sunrise Movement.

Protestors confronted Manchin several times, including blocking his Maserati while they were questioning him and chanting “We want to live!” Five young people led the protests after they ended their two-week hunger strike earlier this week, demanding real action on the climate crisis from Washington.

One of the youth activists, Kidus Girma, cited President Biden’s failure to put forward climate change legislation as reason for the hunger strike. “I’m on a hunger strike for my family and my future and the promises that the president made to young people who put him in office,” Girma said. “We need the president to put the children of the future, the children of today at the center of his agenda, and not Exxon officials and the representatives that fight for oil and gas billionaires.”

Manchin became the focus of the Sunrise Movement as his vote is crucial in whether the Build Back Better Act is able to pass the evenly divided Senate. The $3.5 trillion infrastructure bill has split Democrats not only over the cost, but also individual contents. While the cost of the bill has been reduced to $1.5 trillion, which Manchin has said he can support, he has still expressed criticism of green energy measures in the legislation.

Manchin also faced backlash from climate change campaigners due to his opposition to a provision in the Build Back Better Act that would provide $150 billion toward relacing coal and gas0fired power plants in the U.S. West Virginia, his home state, is a major coal producer.

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