Activists gather Thursday to urge action on the $3.5 trillion federal budget reconciliation bill. Photo credit: @GreenNewDealSanDiego, via Twitter

San Diego-area elected officials, along with climate and labor advocates, gathered in City Heights Thursday seeking changes to the $3.5 trillion budget reconciliation bill.

The virtual event, streamed on Facebook, was part of a nationwide effort billed as the “Seal the Deal Day of Action.”

“We need Congress to deliver on their promise of climate action for the people,” said Bertha Rodriguez, an organizer with the environmental activism group Climate Action Campaign.

“Our communities are suffering, and we cannot wait any longer – the climate crisis is not years away, we are already in it.”

The bipartisan infrastructure bill passed by the Senate on Aug. 10, “lacks critical investments in climate solutions, the economy and social justice,” the groups said in a statement.

The activists urge Congress, especially San Diego-area House members, to allocate the $3.5 trillion on climate action equity, community well-being and to create jobs.

“The bipartisan infrastructure deal is simply not enough,” said Karinna Gonzalez, a climate justice policy advisor for the San Diego environmental group Hammond Climate Solutions.

“Not only is the deal not enough money to adequately address the needs of our communities, but it includes dangerous handouts to the oil and gas industry.”

Former San Diego City Councilwoman Georgette Gomez, San Diego City Councilman Sean Elo-Rivera and Imperial Beach Mayor Serge Dedina expressed their concerns over what they called the increasingly urgent climate crisis.

“That is why it’s imperative that Congress pass a $3.5 trillion reconciliation bill that is responsive to climate change and takes advantage of the opportunities to improve our local communities through environmental action,” Elo-Rivera said.

The budget reconciliation bill follows the Aug. 9 release of the United Nations’ Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change report, labeled a “code red for humanity” by Secretary-General Antonio Guterres.

California also is enduring worsening fires, heat waves, drought and record breaking temperatures.

“There is no time for wavering. There is no time for watering it down. This is the moment – the future of the planet is at stake, San Diego’s future is at stake and we are urging our representatives in Congress to act strong, courageous and to seal the deal to deliver $3.5 trillion and not a penny less,” Gomez said.

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