Just before Congress broke for the Christmas holidays, Joe Manchin (D-WV) unequivocally told Bret Baier on Fox News Sunday that he was a hard “no” when it came to his vote on the Build Back Better bill, Joe Biden’s signature spending legislation. This public comment infuriated many in the Democratic Party while drawing praise for Manchin in his home state of West Virginia.
However, Manchin has signaled that he is “open” to a standalone bill that addresses climate change provisions, according to a Yahoo News.
Manchin told reporters last Tuesday, “I think that the climate thing is one that we probably can come to an agreement much easier than anything else.”
Since climate change has been a high priority for the Biden Administration, some Democrats on Capitol Hill are demonstrating that they would be open to a compromise. This group of Democrats includes the “architect” of the Green New Deal, Senator Ed Markey (D-MA).
President Biden has announced that he wants to see emissions cut by fifty percent by the year 2030.
However, there were others on the Democratic side of the Congressional aisle that weren’t so keen to compromise with Manchin. Senator Tina Smith (D-MN) was asked by a CNN anchor if the Democratic Party should pursue a bill such as what Joe Manchin had suggested. Smith replied, “No, I don’t think so. . . we have to find a package that can get fifty votes, and I think that’s the path we are on right now.”
Although both Nancy Pelosi and President Joe Biden have both hinted that they have been in negotiations with Joe Manchin in an effort to resurrect the Build Back Better bill, Manchin made it clear that he would not be further discussing the progressive spending bill any further. “I’m really not going to talk about Build Back Better; there is no negotiation going on at this time.”
Late last week, as Joe Biden addressed the American public, he mentioned his Build Back Better bill multiple times as if Congress is preparing to vote on the legislation any time now.
Manchin has basically left his colleagues in Congress one choice – to negotiate with Manchin or to walk away with nothing.
Even if Democrats try to utilize reconciliation, they will not have the necessary votes to pass the Build Back Better bill if Manchin and Arizona’s Kyrsten Sinema do not vote with the party.
Democrats say that Manchin has “sought to drastically water down” the climate provisions listed in the Build Back Better bill.
Manchin has already insisted that the $150 billion in clean energy initiatives be removed from the BBB bill. Critics said that without these initiatives, the United States will not be able to meet its emissions targets. Manchin has said in the past that “we have to have enough energy to run our country, and when have to have the transition as it happens . . .” Manchin said in December that one reason he could not vote for the BBB legislation is that the legislation will move the country toward clean energy too quickly.
Manchin related: “To (move the country to clean energy too quickly) at a rate that is faster than technology . . . will have catastrophic consequences for the American people like we have seen in both Texas in the last two years.” Manchin is referring to the wind turbines that froze over Texas last year, leaving millions of Texans without heat during a severe winter storm. He’s also referring to rolling blackouts that take place in California periodically.