Joe Manchin refuses to back Biden’s climate change agenda, tax provisions

Democratic West Virginia Senator Joe Manchin told Democratic leadership Thursday that he’d only support a budget reconciliation package if they dropped provisions for climate change and raising taxes.

NBC News reports that Manchin supports portions of the budget, namely a provision for lowering prescription drugs and approving a two-year extension for Affordable Care Act (ACA) funding. Manchin’s move disrupts the Democrats’ hopes for sweeping climate change policies and a bevy of new taxes, both of which are prominent parts of President Biden’s agenda.

With the November midterms looming, Democrats are looking to pass a bill before September when the ACA would permit a hike in major insurance premiums. Manchin spokesperson Sam Runyon told NBC News that in the age of inflation more government spending isn’t the answer.

If a package that includes climate and tax issues is not paid for then Manchin would only support the narrower budget.

“Political headlines are of no value to the millions of Americans struggling to afford groceries and gas as inflation soars to 9.1 percent,” Runyon said, “Senator Manchin believes it’s time for leaders to put political agendas aside, reevaluate and adjust to the economic realities the country faces to avoid taking steps that add fuel to the inflation fire..”

According to The Hill, Manchin told Senate Majority Leader Charles Schumer that he would only support a “narrow budget reconciliation package before Labor Day if it does not include new spending to fight climate change or taxes on wealthy individuals or corporations” and would only back a filibuster-proof economic bill.

The tedious budget reconciliation process is designed to circumvent filibusters altogether as Instead of needing 60 votes, a reconciliation bill only needs a simple majority in the Senate. Manchin’s stance

Manchin, a Democratic centrist, drew the ire of Democratic colleagues as he has in the past for bucking the party’s wishes. Martin Heinrich, U.S. Senator for New Mexico, wrote on Twitter, “We have an opportunity to address the climate crisis right now. Senator Manchin’s refusal to act is infuriating. It makes me question why he’s Chair of ENR.”

ENR stands for the Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources.

New York Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez seconded Heinrich and quote tweeted adding, “Courage. Thank you for saying this Sen.@MartinHeinrich.”

Manchin puts the Democrats in a place where they can only pass a budget that reflects his wishes or not pass it at all. The reconciliation bill has no Republican support.

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