Sen. Dianne Feinstein, students have tense debate over climate change

Credit: Alex Wong/Getty Images

Credit: Alex Wong/Getty Images

U.S. Sen. Dianne Feinstein said she had "a spirited debate" after a confrontation with a group of students, who wanted her to support the climate change plan backed by Democratic Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, The New York Times reported.

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Feinstein, D-California, met the students at her San Francisco office. The students wanted to know why she would not support the Green New Deal, which calls for a dramatic change in U.S. energy policy.

In a video posted by the Sunrise Movement, the meeting became contentious when Feinstein began explaining her opposition to the Green New Deal, the Times reported.

“There’s no way to pay for it,” Feinstein said.

“We have tons of money going to the military,” one girl responded, but Feinstein countered by saying such a measure would not pass in a Republican-controlled Senate.

“That resolution will not pass the Senate, and you can take that back to whoever sent you here and tell them,” Feinstein told the students. “I’ve been in the Senate for over a quarter of a century and I know what can pass and I know what can’t pass.”

Pressed further, Feinstein, 85, told the students, “You come in here and say: ‘It has to be my way or the highway.’ I don’t respond to that.”

When one student persisted, Feinstein asked her age, the Los Angeles Times reported. When the girl said she was 16, Feinstein said, "Well, you didn't vote for me," the newspaper reported.

In a statement after the exchange, Feinstein said climate change remained one of her top priorities.

“Unfortunately, it was a brief meeting, but I want the children to know they were heard loud and clear,” Feinstein said. “I have been and remain committed to doing everything I can to enact real, meaningful climate change legislation.”

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