- Manchin told Schumer “unequivocally” that he would not support measures other than prescription drugs and health care.
- Biden’s lofty goals for climate action and the social safety net seem doomed.
- Progressives accused Manchin of “single-handedly dooming humanity”.
WASHINGTON — President Joe Biden vowed Friday to take “strong executive action” to address climate change after Sen. Joe Manchin, DW.Va., condemned the president’s efforts to reinvigorate major elements of his legislative agenda national.
Stating he ‘will not back down’, the president said he would use executive authority after Manchin on Thursday rejected proposals to tackle climate change and raise taxes on the wealthy in negotiations for a spending agenda with Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, DN.Y.
What Biden says:
- “Action on climate change and clean energy remains more urgent than ever,” Biden said in a written statement during his trip to the Middle East. “So let me be clear: If the Senate does not take action to address the climate crisis and strengthen our national clean energy industry, I will take strong executive action to respond at this time.”
- Biden did not elaborate on potential executive actions, but he said he would seek to create jobs, improve U.S. energy security, strengthen manufacturing and supply chains, and fight against climate change. Whether Biden’s executive climate actions have the same teeth as the legislation remains to be seen. .
- Biden also called on the Senate to pass legislation before the August recess to reduce prescription drug prices and expand grants for the Affordable Care Act — the two areas Manchin and other Democrats have argued about. reached an agreement.
After:Sen. Joe Manchin calms down on spending negotiations, citing fears of ‘inflation fire’
How we got here:
- Manchin, a moderate Democrat, told Schumer at a meeting on Thursday that “he will not support” a reconciliation bill that contains energy and climate provisions or raises taxes on Americans and wealthiest companies, according to a Democrat briefed on the conversation.
- Manchin told Schumer “unequivocally,” according to the source, that he is only willing to support prescription drug pricing measures and ACA measures.
- Manchin, appearing on the radio show Hoppy Kercheval in West Virginia on Friday, dismissed the suggestion that he blew up the talks. He said he wanted to wait until August, when the July inflation figures are released, to decide what can be passed without consumer prices rising further.
- “I said, ‘Chuck can we wait for the inflation numbers to come out in July?'” Manchin said. “He took that as ‘no’, I guess.” The senator added: “As far as I’m concerned, I want the climate. I want an energy policy.”
What this means for negotiations
- Schumer hopes to pass legislation before the Senate goes on vacation in August — something Manchin’s schedule would not allow. The standoff comes after Schumer’s concessions on the climate package to eliminate tax credits for electric vehicles and directly pay clean energy developers opposed by Manchin, while lowering the price of energy components to 375 billion dollars, the source said.
- Schumer’s final offer would have retained tax credits to support clean energy, a proposal that Democrats say would cut carbon emissions by nearly 40% by 2030.
Why the setback is crushing for Biden
Biden and the Democrats had big ambitions to transform the economy and the social safety net, and to craft the most significant climate provisions in US history. But what started last year as a $3.5 trillion spending bill — dubbed Build Back Better by the president — is now almost entirely gutted. Long ago, proposals for universal pre-kindergarten, free community college, national paid family leave, expanded tax credits for children, affordable housing, and dental and vision coverage for the elderly were omitted a long time ago.
After Manchin torpedoed a slashed $2.2 trillion Build Back Better bill last year, Schumer reignited talks with the West Virginia senator in a last-ditch effort to salvage part of the government’s agenda. president, particularly on the climate, ahead of the midterm elections in November. The White House hoped to pass legislation via reconciliation, which would allow Democrats to bypass a would-be Republican filibuster with a simple majority, but that would require all 50 Democratic senators on board.
Manchin, citing high inflation for 40 years, said he would not support anything “that causes more problems”. He also backed down from efforts to reduce fossil fuels, calling it unrealistic to switch to renewables within a decade. “I’m not going to take part in taking away what this country needs to run the economic engine and the lives of human beings across America.”
The White House, which has refrained from speaking publicly about the latest round of spending talks, declined to comment. White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre also declined to say whether Manchin informed the administration of his position.
Progressives castigated Manchin. “It seems odd that Senator Manchin chose as his legacy to be the one man who single-handedly doomed humanity,” said John Podesta, former senior adviser to Barack Obama and founder of the Center for American Progress think tank. . “But we can’t throw in the towel on the planet. Now it’s more important than ever that President Biden uses his full authority to fight hard for the future.”
After:Inflation hits a new 40-year high. What does this mean for buyers and the upcoming Fed rate hike?
- Once again, despite scrutiny from the White House and both houses of Congress, Democrats have proven unable to unite behind a progressive agenda. It became one of the defining trends of the early years of Biden’s presidency. And with November’s midterm elections approaching, time is running out for Democrats to pass major legislation.
- Manchin’s outsized role – as one of the few Democrats willing to break from party ranks – has also resurfaced. The moderate Democrat, from one of the nation’s largest coal-producing states, received more than $730,000 in campaign donations from the oil and gas industry during the 2022 election cycle, far more than no any senator, according to Open Secrets.
- Schumer and the Democrats are left with only bad options. They could introduce a bill to support prescription drug prices and expand ACA subsidies and claim a victory, but that would come at the expense of many of the priorities progressives have demanded for years.
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