Of course Joe Manchin tanked the Democrats' climate plans

Democrats were willing to give Joe Manchin just about everything he wanted, but it turns out what he really wanted was to stay rich.

WASHINGTON, DC - JULY 14: Sen. Joe Manchin, D-W.Va.,  and Sen. Shelley Moore Capito, R-W.Va., pay re...
Pool/Getty Images News/Getty Images
Originally Published: 

Stop us if you’ve heard this one before: Joe Manchin, king of coal, is killing the Democrats’ effort to pass meaningful legislation on climate change. For the last few months, the party’s leadership had been negotiating with the Senator from West Virginia to figure out what it would take to get him to sign on for new government spending to address the climate crisis. Asked to do something — anything — that could help the country cut down its emissions, Manchin, who made millions selling the dirtiest burning fuel source around, said no, according to the Washington Post.

Democrats have been negotiating a new spending bill that would tackle a number of major issues facing the country, with few more pressing than the climate crisis. According to the New York Times, the Biden administration was looking to secure funds to offer new tax credits to consumers who are buying electric vehicles, create incentives for wind and solar power expansion, and push power plants to clean up pollution. Manchin said no to all of the above, and has reportedly decided he will not give his vote to any economic package that includes climate spending or new taxes.

With the midterms looming and the very real risk that Democrats will lose control of both the House and Senate, Manchin’s decision to stand with his donors from the oil and gas industry who have given him a cool $400,000 in campaign contributions in recent months, means that any hope for major climate legislation for the rest of Biden’s first term is likely dead — and it’s been Manchin there at every turn, snuffing out anything that even resembles action.

Considering Manchin tanked Biden’s Build Back Better Act, which was supposed to be the president’s signature legislation, Democrats knew they’d have to make lots of concessions to get Manchin’s votes — and by all accounts, it seems they were ready to give the West Virginian his pick of sweeteners.

WaPo reported that Chuck Schumer was wiling to give up paid family and medical leave, ditch free pre-kindergarten programs, and abandon tax benefits for low income Americans to get Manchin on board. And while there was supposedly traction toward a deal, Manchin swerved at the last minute and said the spending was too much for him to stomach. It’s like the Senator took a look at the budget and said, “This doesn’t make enough people suffer, I can’t put my name to this.”

Manchin supposedly has not walked away from the negotiating table entirely, according to the New York Times, though it does seem like he’s treating it more like a hostage negotiation than a budgetary one. The Senator has signed on to a plan to help lower the cost of prescription drugs and offer expanded subsidies for the Affordable Care Act, but simply won’t get on board for any climate spending.

At least that slightly more affordable healthcare will come in handy when we’re dealing with the effects of climate change. Thanks to Manchin, we’re going to need it.