Democrats are clearly frustrated with Sen. Joe Manchin, but any serious punishment for his failure to support climate and tax provisions in President Biden's Build Back Better bill seems unlikely, reports the Hill. Stripping the West Virginia senator of his chairmanship of the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee would only risk "purging our ranks," Senate Democratic Whip Dick Durbin said Monday. A new book by New York Times reporters Jonathan Martin and Alex Burns claims Manchin considered switching his party to Independent and caucusing with the Republican Party soon after Biden's election—a move that would shift control of the Senate to Republicans.
Former Clinton Labor Secretary Robert Reich suggested Manchin should be kicked out of the party altogether as Democrats have "already lost control over the Senate." He argues this could spur Democrats to vote in the midterms, per Fox News. But Democrats need Manchin's vote to pass a scaled-down budget reconciliation bill that will lower prescription drug prices and extend Affordable Care Act subsidies before the August recess. Otherwise, millions of customers could receive notices of health insurance premium hikes in the weeks ahead of the November election, per Politico.
Indeed, Politico reports Biden and his advisors are "trying their hardest not to show" their anger at the senator, as "the last time they took a whack at Manchin, it backfired spectacularly, causing a months-long break in negotiations around a pared down plan." Meanwhile, Biden has said he will use executive action "to tackle the climate crisis and strengthen our domestic clean energy industry" as "action on climate change and clean energy remains more urgent than ever," per CNN. According to Politico, "the White House has told climate advocates that some initial directives could come as soon as the end of this week." (Read more Joe Manchin stories.)