The Sunrise Movement is growing frustrated with President Joe Biden’s lack of progress on his climate policies — and the fact that oil and gas executives seem to have his ear.
The youth-led climate group sent a letter to the White House demanding a sit-down with the president and vice president. The letter, sent on June 4 and shared exclusively with HuffPost, asks Biden to prioritize meeting with them rather than a Republican Party looking to strip climate provisions from his infrastructure plan.
The group says it has not received a response.
“We’re definitely frustrated and each day that goes by we’re more and more angry and outraged,” Sunrise Movement spokesperson Ellen Sciales told HuffPost. “We elected Biden on a bold climate mandate and now he’s spending more time with Republicans than with the people who sacrificed all their time to get him elected.”
The White House did not respond to a request for comment.
In the letter, the Sunrise Movement called Biden’s attempt to negotiate with the GOP over his spending package a “dead end mission.”
“The agenda you’ve put forward and I helped craft, while historic, is itself already a compromise; it’s far short of what economists and scientists say is necessary to transform our economy and meet the climate challenge at scale,” Varshini Prakash, executive director of Sunrise Movement, wrote. “But, if you insist on meeting with and negotiation with the Republican Party, it’s only reasonable that you should also meet with and hear from us.”
Earlier this month, tensions between climate groups and the Biden administration appeared to boil over. Sunrise Movement volunteers and staffers demonstrated outside the White House to protest the Biden administration’s drawn-out infrastructure negotiations with the Senate GOP.
Climate groups have become increasingly anxious as negotiations between the White House and Congress appear to inch toward a deal. But the Sunrise Movement is still hoping to have a seat at the table with Biden to discuss a plan that addresses the climate crisis.
“Since we sent that letter, his administration has met with the GOP and oil and gas executives over our movement,” Sciales said.
Activists aren’t the only ones frustrated with Biden’s infrastructure negotiations; some Senate Democrats have threatened to oppose a deal if climate change provisions aren’t included in the package.
“It sounds to me they have a package that is climate denial masquerading as bipartisanship. We can’t have an infrastructure bill in 2021 that doesn’t have climate at its center,” Sen. Ed Markey (D-Mass.) told MSNBC last week. “No climate, no deal.”