West Virginia Democratic Sen. Joe Manchin is reportedly standing firm against his fellow Democrats, demanding that $150 billion in climate initiatives be removed from a $3.5 trillion spending bill.
Progressives are trying to pass the legislation, which allocates massive amounts of funding for social and environmental programs and which is backed by President Joe Biden’s administration, via the budget reconciliation process, meaning they would only need a simple majority of 50 senators — plus Vice President Kamala Harris as the tie-breaking vote. But Democrats only have 50 senators in their caucus, so the legislation won’t pass if even one Democrat defects (assuming no Republicans support the legislation).
Manchin, who is more moderate than most of his Democratic colleagues, has raised a multitude of concerns over the legislation, and according to the New York Post, he is now demanding that $150 billion in clean energy initiatives be cut from it.
The Post reported Saturday: “Senate sources confirmed to The Post that Manchin was ‘dug in’ on climate issues.”
“As a path forward there are two choices, compromise in some form or fashion or eliminate the climate aspect from reconciliation and work on it thereafter,” a senior Senate insider told the outlet.
The insider added that a lot is still up in the air.
According to The New York Times, Manchin’s stance has left the White House with no choice.
“The most powerful part of President Biden’s climate agenda — a program to rapidly replace the nation’s coal- and gas-fired power plants with wind, solar and nuclear energy — will likely be dropped from the massive budget bill pending in Congress, according to congressional staffers and lobbyists familiar with the matter,” the Times reported Friday.
The Times added that Manchin “told the White House that he strongly opposes the clean electricity program, according to three of those people.
“As a result, White House staffers are now rewriting the legislation without that climate provision, and are trying to cobble together a mix of other policies that could also cut emissions,” the outlet said.
Manchin spokeswoman Sam Runyon made it clear there are some things the West Virginia Democrat won’t stand for.
“Senator Manchin has clearly expressed his concerns about using taxpayer dollars to pay private companies to do things they’re already doing. He continues to support efforts to combat climate change while protecting American energy independence and ensuring our energy reliability,” Runyon told the Times.
A White House spokesman would not comment to the Times on the bill’s specifics.
“The White House is laser focused on advancing the president’s climate goals and positioning the United States to meet its emission targets in a way that grows domestic industries and good jobs,” Vedant Patel told the outlet.