Source: Manchin Delivers 'Stunning Blow' to Democrats

Democrats will likely need to decide whether to accept a far more modest package
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Jul 15, 2022 1:45 AM CDT
Source: Manchin Delivers 'Stunning Blow' to Democrats
Sen. Joe Manchin, D-W.Va., and Sen. Shelley Moore Capito, R-W.Va., pay their respects as the flag-draped casket bearing the remains of Hershel W. "Woody" Williams, lies in honor in the U.S. Capitol, Thursday, July 14, 2022 in Washington.   (Tom Williams/Pool photo via AP)

(Newser) – Sen. Joe Manchin will oppose an economic measure he’s been negotiating with Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer if it includes climate or energy provisions or boosts taxes on the rich or corporations, a Democrat briefed on the conversations said late Thursday, delivering a stunning blow to one of the party’s top election-year priorities. The official said Manchin, who derailed his party’s bigger and wider-ranging social and environment package last December, has told Schumer he will only support a measure limited to curbing pharmaceutical prices and extending federal subsidies for buying health care coverage.

Manchin's demands leave the measure's future unclear and upend party leaders' hopes for a more sweeping package they've wanted to push through Congress by August, the AP reports. In talks with Schumer that have lasted months, Manchin had previously expressed support for energy and climate language and for raising levies on high-earners and big companies. Manchin spokesperson Sam Runyon issued a statement that reiterated the senator’s assertions that he did not want any measure that emerged to worsen the consumer cost of living.

"Political headlines are of no value to the millions of Americans struggling to afford groceries and gas as inflation soars to 9.1%," 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 anonymous official, Schumer had told Manchin during their talks that he would support using half of the overall measure for deficit reduction, a Manchin demand. Schumer also said he would back setting aside $375 billion for climate and energy provisions, the official said.

He also told Manchin he would back provisions aimed at helping domestic energy drilling—the West Virginian is a strong supporter of coal and domestic oil production—and would not include tax credits for electric vehicles, which Manchin had largely opposed. President Biden and congressional Democrats have been hoping to enact a roughly $1 trillion version of the $2 trillion bill that Manchin killed in December and tout it as an achievement before the November elections. Manchin's demands mean Democrats would probably only be able to produce a far smaller bill that erases the hopes of many in the party to also fund clean energy incentives that could begin to help curb global warming. (Read more Joe Manchin stories.)

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