New York lawmakers who have long fought for climate investments are devastated and angry after a key Democratic senator torpedoed President Joe Biden’s aggressive climate agenda.

After over a year of painstaking negotiations over billions of dollars in investments, West Virginia Sen. Joe Manchin reportedly told Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer that he would not back environmental spending as part of a special legislative package.

What You Need To Know

  • New York Democrats call Sen. Manchin's announcement "infuriating," saying it is "damaging" to climate fight

  • Sens. Schumer and Manchin were negotiating a watered-down reconciliation bill, which could pass with only Democratic votes

  • Progressives are leaning on the White House to act unilaterally, something President Biden teased he would do Friday

“To hold back that effort is unacceptable, it is damaging,” Rep. Paul Tonko said.

“It’s infuriating. It’s frustrating. But it’s kind of predictable when you have a senator that has been so beholden to the fossil fuel lobby for so long,” Rep. Jamaal Bowman said.

Democrats need Manchin’s agreement to pass anything on a party-line vote in the evenly split Senate through a maneuver known as reconciliation.

Manchin previously derailed reconciliation talks late last year, before negotiations eventually resumed on a scaled down measure.

Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez says the White House should have taken more aggressive executive action when talks lapsed previously, to send a message: Do not waste the president’s time.

“We should have taken a bit of a different tact, particularly after December, and just the extraordinary betrayal of the President by Sen. Manchin,” she said. “Carrots are good, but when people violate their word, sticks are important too.”

Regarding Schumer’s handling of the negotiations, several of his New York colleagues defended the veteran lawmaker.

“With a 50-50 deadlock in the Senate, there was no room for anyone to fall off. It was a difficult assignment,” Tonko said.

“Sen. Schumer is dealing with the hand that he’s been dealt with in an effective fashion,” Rep. Hakeem Jeffries, who chairs the House Democratic Caucus, said.

“I would argue that we all screwed up,” Bowman said. He argued the reconciliation package should not have been put to the side as Democrats moved ahead with another gigantic piece of legislation: the bipartisan infrastructure bill.

Progressives are now leaning on President Biden to take action unilaterally. In a statement following the Manchin news, Biden vowed to take strong executive action to “meet this moment.”

“I will not back down: the opportunity to create jobs and build a clean energy future is too important to relent,” Biden continued.

However, New York Democrats agree executive action will only go so far. Their message: vote.

“We absolutely need two or three more senators, or four or five more senators, where we can move forward a reconciliation package,” Bowman said.

“Quite seriously, much of the fate of our planet comes down to November,” Ocasio-Cortez said.