Sen. Joe Manchin (D-WV) announced his opposition to significant portions of a Democratic economic plan, prompting an aggressive response from President Biden on Friday.
According to two sources, Manchin will “unequivocally” refuse to back Democratic bills on climate change and tax hikes in an economic package after months of talks with Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY). Biden responded by promising to take action on his own.
“Let me be very clear: if the Senate will not take action on the climate crisis or support our domestic clean energy sector, I will use my executive authority to meet this challenge,” Biden said in a prepared statement. “My actions will generate jobs, improve our energy security, support local manufacturing and supply chains, protect us from gas and oil price increases in the future, and deal with climate change. I won’t back down: the potential to create employment and establish a clean energy future is too significant to ignore.”
Manchin, a moderate Dem. who is currently a swing voter in the evenly divided Senate, has held up other parts of Joe Biden’s agenda — including the omnibus Build Back Better initiative, efforts to federalize abortion law, and the elimination of immigration restrictions.
Manchin spoke about his role in sinking the Democratic legislation on Talkline Friday morning.
“I said, ‘Chuck until we get the July inflation numbers and the July Fed rates, interest rates. Let’s wait till that comes out to be sure we’re going down a road that won’t cause inflation to rise,’” Manchin recounted. “He says, ‘Are you saying you won’t do it right now?’ I said, ‘Chuck, it’s unwise and imprudent to do it right now.”
According to NBC News, Biden received just 29.7 percent of the vote in West Virginia during the 2020 election, whereas President Donald Trump garnered 68.6%. According to the U.S. Energy Information Administration, West Virginia was among the top six U.S. states for energy production as of 2019, especially with respect to coal.
State officials have lamented the animosity of regulators and progressive investors toward coal power in the past. “Green energy is a rich man’s problem,” West Virginia Treasurer Riley Moore told The Daily Wire last month, referring to the Mountain State’s reserves as critical to the US and its allies’ energy supply.
“If we are going to be an energy self-sufficient nation, we need states like West Virginia,” Moore said. “We could assist our allies in Europe if these folks would just let us develop pipelines to export gas from West Virginia.”