Joe Manchin Surrounded by Climate Protesters as He Steps Off Houseboat: 'We Want to Live'

Climate activists confronted Senator Joe Manchin of West Virginia outside his houseboat early Thursday morning to demand action on a proposed social spending bill currently stalling in Congress.

Manchin has raised concerns about the Build Back Better Act, whose details President Joe Biden outlined last week. The senator said on Monday he doesn't intend to support the legislation until he knew more about the impact it would have on both the national debt and inflation.

The framework for the bill released at the end of October includes what Biden's administration described as the "largest effort to combat climate change in American history."

Joe Manchin climate protesters
Senator Joe Manchin was confronted Thursday morning by climate and hunger activists who are calling for his removal as chair of the Energy and Natural Resources Committee. Above, Manchin arrives for a news conference at the U.S. Capitol on November 1, 2021 in Washington, D.C. Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

Protesters with the Sunrise Movement said Thursday they are calling for forward momentum on the bill. They also called upon Biden and leading Democrats in Congress to remove Manchin from his role as chair of the Energy and Natural Resources Committee.

"We want to live. We want to live," protesters chanted as they followed Manchin Thursday morning in Washington, D.C. One protester could be overheard saying: "Senator Manchin, why won't you fight for my future?"

Video provided to Newsweek showed the protesters first following Manchin as he walked toward a parking garage, and later blocking his vehicle from leaving. Some were seen carrying a large sign that read: "Joe Manchin is burning our future for profit."

The Sunrise Movement, which identifies itself as "a youth movement to stop climate change and create millions of good jobs in the process," released details about the climate mobilization rally earlier this week. Protesters were to meet east of the Washington Channel at Westminster Presbyterian Church at 6 a.m. local time on Thursday.

More than 100 people participated in the protest, according to a Sunrise Movement press release. The protest followed an earlier hunger strike that participants said lasted two weeks and ended when the decision was made "to eat as fuel for the rage we feel toward Joe Manchin and any Democrat who sides with him.'

Lauren Maunus, the advocacy director of the Sunrise Movement, said in the organization's press release that it "is egregious and completely unacceptable that Joe Manchin, who has profited millions of dollars from his family's own fossil fuel firm is in charge of creating consequential climate agenda."

Maunus' statement continued by calling for Manchin's removal from his position on the committee.

A protest participant identified in the Sunrise Movement's release as Kidus Girma reiterated the group's calls for progress on the proposed legislation.

"Our lives are worth more than his coal money and we'll keep fighting until President Biden, Joe Manchin and Democrats pass a climate and jobs package that meets the moment of the climate crisis," Girma said in the release. "One sad, greedy man, cannot stand in the way of life saving climate legislation. Enough is enough."

Newsweek reached out to Manchin's office for comment and will update this article with any response.