Less than a week after frustrating a Democratic effort to tackle the climate emergency, Sen. Joe Manchin of West Virginia said he wants Congress to approve new programs to tackle the climate emergency.
Asked about his reaction to President Joe Biden weighing the declaration of a national climate emergency, the conservative Democrat replied, “Let’s see what Congress does. Congress needs to act.”
The Washington Post first reported that Biden was deciding whether or not to undertake the maneuver, intended to pave the way for a series of executive actions to address climate change. It’s unclear how aggressively the White House will act, but some climate activists are urging them to ban crude oil exports and restrict drilling in federal waters.
manchin later rejected criticism from fellow Democrats that he had chained his party over the past year in negotiations to secure their agenda. But private frustrations are beginning to spill out into the open because of his deviant public stances.
“It’s not fair to string people together for a year and not come to a conclusion,” Sen. Martin Heinrich of New Mexico told reporters on Tuesday. “That’s not a proper way to negotiate.”
Henry offered on Friday that Manchin should be stripped of his chairmanship of the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee after the breakdown of the latest round of talks. That belief doesn’t seem to be prevalent among Senate Democrats so far.
It comes after Manchin privately told Democratic leaders last week that he would only support the passage of two new health care programs, making it clear he was opposed to tax increases and climate initiatives despite the public and private expression of its support for these measures over the months.
“Joe Manchin is really Lucy, he keeps moving the ball every time the rest of the team runs to hit him,” Michigan rep Andy Levin said. told Bloomberg. He was referring to the famous Lucy and the football gag in which Peanuts character Lucy van Pelt knocks the ball away from Charlie Brown at the last second.
All 50 Senate Democrats must back the economic package to bypass GOP opposition in the budget reconciliation process.
The conservative Democrat has kept the door open to negotiate a bigger climate and tax reform bill until early September, insisting he has not walked away from the table. Manchin says he wants to review the health of the economy with another inflation report due Aug. 10.
But Democrats are facing a time crunch with the August recess of Congress kicking off in weeks and little time to avoid premium hikes from an expiring Obamacare financial relief package. Millions of Americans would receive notices of steep increases to their monthly insurance bills just before November’s midterms if Democrats don’t step in soon.
Biden has urged Congress to quickly approve a skinny bill that only includes measures to empower the federal government to negotiate certain prescription drug prices as well as expanding Affordable Care Act subsidies. But some Democrats are still calling for a climate deal with unpredictable resistance.
“While I strongly support further executive action by President Biden, we know a flood of Republican lawsuits will follow,” Sen. Ron Wyden of Oregon, chairman of the Senate Finance Committee, said Monday. “Legislation continues to be the best option here.”