Sen. Joe Manchin’s decision to reject energy and climate change investments as part of a party-line spending package shocked and infuriated both liberals and climate activists.
They slammed the West Virginian’s choice as one that would jeopardize not only President Joe Biden’s ideology, but also the future of the planet.
What’s Going On?
The announcement comes only two weeks after the high court limited the EPA’s authority to control greenhouse gases from power stations.
It comes as the Biden government’s climate strategy has been overshadowed by efforts to increase oil and gas output in order to combat inflation.
The result is that even while Democrats in charge made addressing the issue one of their top goals, the United States (the second-largest producer of greenhouse gas emissions in the world) may find it has limited power to do so.
— Tom Fitton (@TomFitton) July 17, 2022
After hearing of Manchin’s denial on Thursday night, Sam Ricketts, co-founder and co-director of the environmental organization Evergreen Action, expressed his disapproval.
A budget bill bill that would need the approval of all 50 Senate Democrats, including Manchin, has been a source of contention for Democrats for months as they attempt to pass a scaled-back climate and energy package.
Manchin earlier stated he could come to a climate deal, provided the legislation contained provisions that aided both renewable energy sources and fossil fuels.
Though before the August holiday, Manchin notified Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer last Thursday that he wouldn’t back the investment in energy and the environment.
In a message, his office cited his concerns about igniting inflation.
Manchin’s a Thorn in Their Side
Manchin denied reports that he abandoned the negotiations entirely on Friday, saying he is awaiting July’s inflation data before making a decision.
He also insisted that Democrats could still agree on a budget resolution containing climate elements in September.
Though since having passed the deadline Schumer set for July, Democrats are forced to decide whether to reach a compromise now to decrease costs of prescription drugs or hold out for a larger bill in September.
Joe Manchin saved America once again this time killing the phony climate change hoax legislation
— Vince Langman (@LangmanVince) July 16, 2022
In a radio interview with West Virginia’s MetroNews, Manchin said, “I can’t really make that choice on taxes of any kind or on sustainable development and climate.”
“It requires the tax money to pay for the investments in the clean technology that I’m in favor of. Though I won’t act in a way that oversteps boundaries and creates additional issues.”
However, Manchin’s Democratic colleagues are skeptical of his motives. They would rather vote on a bill well before August recess since after then, the members will be preoccupied with the midterm electoral campaigns.
Given the past 18 months, Sen. Tina Smith remarked that Manchin is aimlessly backing Republicans, rather than helping his own party.