Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) faced criticism from a recent op-ed in his hometown paper after his opposition to certain climate change-related components of a sweeping spending proposal resulted in their removal from the developing plan. Thanks to the current party breakdown in the Senate and the fact that certain spending-related proposals are exempt from the Senate’s filibuster rules, Democrats could pass the initiative on their own, but so-called moderate Democrats including Manchin and Sen. Kyrsten Sinema (D-Ariz.) have stood in the way of key elements.
The paper in question is the Charleston Gazette-Mail, which is well-established to the point of having won a Pulitzer Prize. In it, writer Dan Kurland explained as follows:
‘It seems Sen. Joe Manchin, D-W.Va., will get his way on the Build Back Better Act. He’s won. It appears that Manchin has killed the inclusion of the Clean Electricity Performance Program that would have paid utilities to switch from greenhouse gas-emitting electricity sources, and that Manchin has killed a proposed carbon fee and dividend program that would have increased market pressure on all industries to move from the carbon-based fuels responsible for the climate crisis.’
There are serious ramifications for these missed chances for action on climate change, which is an undeniable fact for humanity. Kurland described Manchin as having “successfully torpedoed the president’s upcoming trip to the U.N. Climate Change Conference in Glasgow,” explaining how “[at] a time when our country so desperately needs to reassert a leading role in world affairs, Manchin has neutered our ability to set an example for others to follow.” The Senator “has abandoned the moral high ground,” and “he has given every other country an excuse to do as little as he is forcing us to do,” Kurland added. Among other issues, Manchin has also “proven that any individual senator can subvert the collective action of the Senate on the basis of their own interests, rather than the interests of the country as a whole,” Kurland also troublingly observed.
Manchin “has chosen his place in history. Is this really how he wants to be remembered?,” Kurland asked this week. Manchin has faced other opposition from within his home state, with WV Can’t Wait co-chair Stephen Smith commenting as follows during a recent appearance on MSNBC:
‘Here’s a secret that every West Virginian knows. Joe Manchin, Shelley Moore Capito, the rest of our Congressional delegation — they do not represent the working people of West Virginia. They never have; they never will. That’s because up until now, you don’t win high office in West Virginia because you serve the people. You win high office in West Virginia because you serve Exxon. Because you serve out-of-state landowners, bankers, and corporate lawyers — that’s who he’s checking in with. The only language they understand is power, and so the only hope we have on the ground of persuading these establishment politicians is to threaten to replace them. And so, that’s what we’re doing… With every candidate we recruit, every local leader and organizer we train, that threat grows. And we can’t do it alone.’
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— The Sunday Show with Jonathan Capehart (@TheSundayShow) September 12, 2021