Joe Manchin Rules Out New Climate Spending, Tax Hikes

by | Jul 14, 2022 | Politics

Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) is flatly refusing to support any new spending to combat climate change — or tax hikes on the wealthy or corporations, according to a Democrat briefed on the conversations between Manchin and Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.).The West Virginia senator informed Democratic leaders Thursday that those issues are now off limits as they try to hammer out a new economic package before the Senate’s annual August recess. The news was reported first by The Washington Post.AdvertisementManchin’s position is a massive setback for Democrats who had hoped to chalk up a big legislative victory before the November midterm elections. It’s also a reversal for Manchin, who previously expressed support for rolling back parts of President Donald Trump’s 2017 tax cuts for businesses. The Trump administration handed corporations a huge 40% tax cut.Cracks in the negotiations were apparent Wednesday when Manchin, responding to the latest skyrocketing inflation numbers, complained that more government spending would only drive prices even higher and that “leaders in Washington” needed to heed his warnings. “Political headlines are of no value to the millions of Americans struggling to afford groceries and gas as inflation soars to 9.1%. 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,” Manchin spokesperson Sam Runyon said in a statement to HuffPost.Democrats were relying on the added tax revenue to offset the cost of energy and climate investments aimed at combatting extreme weather as a result of climate change. Environmentalists, in particular, viewed the legislative package as the last chance for meaningful action on climate in the next decade.AdvertisementLeading climate hawks in Congress responded to Manchin’s latest roadblock by calling on President Joe Biden to take executive action to fight climate change.“With legislative climate options now closed, it’s now time for executive Beast Mode,” Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse (D-R.I.) tweeted, laying out a list of steps Biden should take to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.It’s unclear whether such action would survive a legal challenge. The conservative 6-3 majority on the Surpeme Court, for example, recently curtailed the Environmental Protection Agency’s power to regulate greenhouse gases.Manchin did agree to a proposal to lower prescription drug prices, as well as a temporary, two-year extension of Affordable Care Act subsidies to help keep health insurance costs from increasing this year, sources told HuffPos …

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