A spokesperson for Sen. Kyrsten Sinema (D-Ariz.) has denied that she wants to cut $100 billion from climate proposals in the Democrats’ spending bill currently making its way through Congress.
Sinema is one of two centrist Democrats in the Senate whose votes are critical to the passage of two bills that together would form President Joe Biden’s mammoth spending agenda: a $1 trillion infrastructure bill and a separate $3.5 trillion budget bill.
Her denial comes after The New York Times reported on Friday that Sinema was seeking to cut the amount in proposed climate provisions in an effort to reduce the price tag on the agenda. The NY Times cited two people familiar with the matter.
John LaBombard, a spokesperson for Sinema, denied the report in a Twitter post Friday, citing the NY Times article.
“Neither Senator Sinema nor our office have requested or demanded such cuts, nor have we ever heard of any such demands. Once again, the NY Times relies on anonymous sources and gets it flat wrong. Do better,” he wrote.
Both Sinema and Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) have rejected the proposed price of the Build Back Better legislation.
Last week, a group of so-called progressive activists followed Sinema into a bathroom at Arizona State University where they confronted her over her opposition to the act and demand she support it.
The incident came just days after Sinema on Sept. 30 doubled down on her position not to support the proposed spending bill, which includes mass amnesty for illegal aliens, as well as funding for social programs like Medicare and the Child Tax Credit, and efforts to combat climate change.
Manchin has also has faced harassment after vowing not to support a bill that costs more than $1.5 trillion, noting that this figure was the most the government could do without “jeopardizing our economy.”
He said that if Democrats wanted to do more “they can run on the rest of it later,” and that “there’s many ways to get where they want to, just not [by] doing everything at one time.”
Democrats need the vote of all 50 Democratic senators in order to pass the bill, meaning both Sinema’s and Manchin’s votes are crucial. The bill has repeatedly hit stalemates in Congress in recent weeks as Republicans and Democrats share differing views on everything from taxes to health to climate change, as well as the overall price tag.
Meanwhile, party leaders have previously pledged to protect at least two major climate change programs: the Clean Electricity Program, which incentivizes electric utilities to use clean energy and penalizes those that don’t; and a general climate package of roughly $300 billion in tax incentives to increase the use of wind and solar power and electric vehicles.
Combined, they total about $450 billion. But Democrats may be forced to cut up to an additional $200 billion in several other climate programs in an effort to lower the cost of the bill and appease those opposing the huge price tag.