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Sen. Tina Smith warns Dems she may not vote for budget bill if climate plan dropped

This comes amid a White House effort to get its "Build Back Better" plan passed.

With a key part of President Joe Biden's climate agenda reportedly on the chopping block in order to save a larger budget bill, Minnesota's junior senator is signaling the White House that she'll have no part in legislation without a clean energy plan. 

On Friday, Sen. Tina Smith tweeted that the "Build Back Better" budget "must meaningfully address climate change," and that she "cannot support a bill that won’t get us where we need to be on emissions."

"There are 50 Democratic senators," she added. "Every one of us is needed (to) get this passed."

Smith's warning came after the New York Times reported that White House staffers are rewriting the bill to accommodate Sen. Joe Manchin — who represents West Virginia, the nation's second biggest coal producer — after he informed them that he "strongly opposes" the clean electricity program. The plan would "rapidly" replace America's coal and gas-fired power plants with wind, solar and nuclear energy.

As the paper notes, the $150 billion program — "which would reward utilities that switched from burning fossil fuels to renewable energy sources, and penalize those that do not" — was the "muscle" behind Biden's larger climate agenda.

The outsized importance of Manchin's vote (and that of his fellow Democrat holdout, Sen. Krysten Sinema of Arizona) is due to the nature of the Democrats' slim majority in the Senate, which often relies on a tie-breaking vote from Vice President Kamala Harris.

As Vox points out, the Democrats need "every single member of their party (plus two independents)" to pass the Build Back Better agenda, which is a cornerstone of Biden's domestic policy. 

The $3.5 trillion, 10-year plan would fund fund free community college, child care and universal pre-K and expanded Medicare as well as climate change initiatives, CBS news reported. 

You can read more about the Build Back Better plan by clicking right here. 

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