Joe Manchin Rules Out New Climate Spending, Tax Hikes

According to a Democrat briefed on the discussions between Sen. Joe Manchin and Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, Manchin (D-W.Va.) has categorically stated that he will not support any additional funding for climate change initiatives, as well as tax increases on the rich or companies (D-N.Y.).

As they work to hammer out a new economic package before the Senate’s customary August recess, the West Virginia senator warned Democratic leaders on Thursday that those concerns are no longer open for discussion. The Washington Post broke the news first.

Democrats had hoped to score a significant legislative triumph before the November midterm elections, but Manchin’s position is a severe setback. It’s also a turnabout for Manchin, who had previously voiced support for undoing some of President Donald Trump‘s company tax cuts from 2017. A significant tax cut of 40% was given to corporations by the Trump administration.

The talks were showing signs of strain on Wednesday when Manchin argued that increased government spending would just increase prices and urged “leaders in Washington” to heed his warnings in response to the most recent, soaring inflation figures.

The millions of Americans who are unable to purchase groceries and gas as inflation jumps to 9.1 percent find no value in political headlines. Sam Runyon, a spokesman for Senator Manchin, said in a statement to HuffPost that Manchin “believes it is time for leaders to put political agendas aside, rethink, and respond to the economic reality the country faces to avoid taking acts that add gasoline to the fire of inflation.”

Democrats were counting on the increased tax income to help pay for the energy and climate investments meant to counteract the effects of extreme weather brought on by climate change. The legislative package, in particular, was seen by environmentalists as the last opportunity for the next ten years to take significant climate action.

Leading climate hawks in Congress urged President Joe Biden to use executive action to combat climate change in response to Manchin’s most recent obstacle.

Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI) tweeted, “With legislative climate options now closed, it’s now time for executive Beast Mode,” outlining a number of actions Biden should do to curb greenhouse gas emissions.

It’s uncertain if such an action would hold up in court. For instance, the Supreme Court’s 6-3 conservative majority recently limited the Environmental Protection Agency’s ability to control greenhouse emissions.

According to individuals who spoke, Manchin did agree to a proposal to cut prescription drug prices as well as a temporary, two-year extension of Affordable Care Act subsidies to help prevent increases in health insurance rates this year.

Democrats must now decide whether to embrace the modified, healthcare-focused approach Manchin has backed or abandon the project altogether. To approve a bill through the budget “reconciliation” procedure, which enables them to avoid a GOP filibuster, they must have the support of all 50 senators from the Democratic party.

“We need to salvage as much of this bundle as we can if we can’t go as we had intended. The phrase “failure is not an option” often overused, but in this case, failure truly is not an option, according to Sen. Ron Wyden (D-Ore.), chairman of the Senate Finance Committee.

Related

After Manchin withdrew his support for the $2 trillion Build Back Better Act, which had been approved by President Biden, late last year, this round of negotiations was a redo.

Manchin and Schumer have been discussing a scaled-back domestic spending proposal worth roughly $1 trillion, of which half would go toward reducing the deficit.

The discussions were a component of a hoped-for push to fulfill commitments made when Democrats won control of the House, Senate, and White House in 2020.

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