Sen. Joe Manchin of West Virginia disputed that he halted negotiations on some items in the Democrats’ reconciliation legislation. Later he added that he “only wanted to see July’s inflation numbers before signing off on the green energy items in the spending bill.”
Reports on the night of July 14th said Manchin had stated to Democratic leaders that he was unable to support the climate-related items in the Democrats’ reconciliation bill. On July 14th, Joe Manchin claimed in a radio interview that he told Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer that he was concerned inflation did rise from May to June and wanted to make sure Congress didn’t do anything “incendiary” to inflation.
“I said, Chuck, until we see the July inflation figures, until we see the July Federal Reserve interest rates — then let’s wait until that comes out so we know that we’re going down the path that won’t be inflammatory to add more to inflation,” Manchin told West Virginia radio host Hoppy Kercheval.
“He took that as ‘no,’ I guess, and came out with this big thing last night,” Manchin said.
Manchin, Schumer and other Democrats have been negotiating a spending bill for months after that Manchin dropped his support for the social and climate spending program of President Joe Biden “Build Back Better”.
The House-passed bill contained hundreds of billions of dollars in incentives to boost the production and deployment of green energy technologies including solar panels, wind turbines and electric vehicles.
Manchin said on July 15th that he supports these energy sources but is separating himself from most of his party when it comes to diagnosing the causes and solutions to the current energy crisis.
“The hard thing is, this administration and a lot of my colleagues on the left side of the Democratic Party have been very clear: eliminate, eliminate, eliminate, quit using any of the fossil,” Manchin said. “Don’t put another inch of pipeline down, don’t carry any of it, just starve it and kill it with 1,000 cuts.”
Manchin said he was assured several months ago that leaders would not pursue this approach and that negotiations have subsequently resumed on legislation. He also challenged the idea that it is possible to aggressively shift the U.S. economy from fossil fuels to renewable energy sources.
“I’m not going to be part of eliminating what this country needs to run the economic engine and the lives of human beings throughout America,” Manchin said.
Democrats and environmental groups have voiced anger and disappointment at the news that Manchin would not support new spending or tax increases.
Progressives blasted Manchin. “It seems odd that Sen. Manchin would choose as his legacy to be the one man who single-handedly doomed humanity,” said John Podesta, a former senior adviser to Barack Obama and the founder of the think tank Center for American Progress. “But we can’t throw in the towel on the planet. Now it’s more important than ever that President Biden use all his authority to fiercely fight for the future.”
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