After bipartisan rebuff, Manchin abandons private legislative deal to help fossil fuel projects: House races go into a runoff Nov. 6
In a sign that a hardening divide between the two parties threatens to undermine efforts to address climate change at the federal level, Joe Manchin, a West Virginia Democrat, announced today that he would not support a proposed bipartisan deal crafted over the past week to pass climate change legislation in Congress by the end of the year.
“I am not prepared to support something because it includes the language that you are proposing,” Manchin said, according to two people with direct knowledge of his remarks. “It would be a betrayal of my values as a guy who believes strongly in science and evidence.”
Manchin’s decision will likely doom the bill, which would include provisions requiring carbon emissions reductions from new fossil fuel projects and imposing stricter standards on existing ones. Republicans were expected to offer the deal, and Senate leaders began to push for passage on Monday.
Yet Manchin’s reversal on the deal is likely to raise questions about the political viability of the effort to achieve significant climate change legislation at the federal level. Manchin’s decision to pull his approval from the proposal, which is being negotiated by leaders from both parties, may have been driven by his desire to protect his state’s energy sector from future carbon pollution. But his move may also reflect the growing divide between Republicans and Democrats on climate policy.
“We’ve had a lot of support from Joe Manchin,” said Jim Manley, the West Virginia Democratic Party chairman. “It’s disappointing to see him go against his party and vote against the proposal. It’s hard to believe that he does that. That’s the one good thing about this whole process.”
And now, just as Manchin needs to approve a bill to protect West Virginia’s natural gas industry from future air pollution from fracking operations, Democrats face a midterm election race in West Virginia where President Trump’s support continues to be crucial.
The president’s personal support for Manchin is also being tested in his own backyard, where Manchin’s decision to defy the president and his party could have far-reaching implications.
“It’s the president’s