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Thursday, August 18, 2022

Biden vows to use executive action after Manchin torpedo climate agenda

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“If the Senate fails to move forward on addressing the climate crisis and strengthening our domestic clean energy industry, I will take strong executive action to meet this moment,” Biden said in the statement. , while abroad in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia. Biden did not specifically mention Manchin.

The president vowed to “create jobs, improve our energy security, boost domestic production and supply chains, protect us from future increases in oil and gas prices, and solve the problem.” climate change”, but did not provide specifics on what kind of action he would take. Take it.

On Thursday night, Manchin dealt a blow to Democrats’ hopes of sweeping legislative action this year, telling Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer and his staff “definitively” that he would not support the climate or tax provisions of a Democratic economic package, two sources familiar with the negotiations told CNN.

Manchin and Schumer have been negotiating for months, and New York Democrats have made some concessions to ease the climate provisions in order to appease West Virginia moderates, whose support is crucial in a Senate. The institute is decided equally.

In a radio interview on Friday, Manchin dismissed the characterization he had blown up talks with Schumer but said he asked them to wait until July inflation numbers are released. and pursued this after the August recession.

“I said, ‘Chuck until we see July inflation, until we see July, basically Federal Reserve rates, interest rates, then let’s wait and see. until it appears so we know we’re going down a path that won’t Manchin tell Hoppy Kercheval on Talkline.” He said, ‘You’re telling me you’re not going to do anything else right now. ?” I said, ‘Chuck, that’s wrong, there’s no need to be cautious about doing other things right now.’ “

CNN reported on Thursday night that Manchin is willing to allow Medicare to negotiate prescription drug prices and extend subsidies enhanced under the Affordable Care Act for two years, one of the sources said. , which suggests that’s all the Democrats can get into.

In his statement, Biden called on Congress to “give Medicare the power to negotiate lower drug prices and stop the increase in health insurance premiums for millions of families with coverage under the Affordable Care Act.” ‘ and urged legislators to ‘pass it before the August Break’ and send it to his desk for signature.

Biden thanked Schumer, who played a key role in the negotiations with Manchin, noting that he had made “substantial compromises” when seeking to broker a deal.

“I want to thank Leader Schumer for his persistent effort and determination to deliver the strongest bill possible to reduce costs, reduce deficits, and combat the climate crisis while promoting security.” our energy security – even making substantial compromises to try to strike a deal,” Biden wrote.

It is unclear whether Manchin’s public position requires negotiators to wait until September to consider tax increases or climate provisions that mean changes in prescription drug prices and ACA subsidies will separate. Democrats have pushed to complete a deal before the August recess to give their vulnerable members a chance to campaign on the law.

John Podesta, founder of the Center for American Progress and Obama’s climate adviser, expressed skepticism about Manchin pushing for more time to consider the deal.

“I think that chain is exhausted,” Podesta said in an interview. “He killed this, and he must own that. If he is satisfied with the consequences of that, so be it, but it will wreak havoc on a lot of people across the country.”

Manchin, who has cited increased federal spending as the main driver of inflation, won’t hurt other Democrats’ priorities, and he told Schumer he would not consider raising taxes on wealthy people or corporations.

The change in tone of the most recent negotiations was abrupt. Manchin has backed those terms throughout negotiations with majority leadership, both at the staff and membership levels, one of the sources close to the matter said.

News of Manchin’s stance on disapproval of climate and tax provisions for Democratic leadership, first reported by washington articleswas met with outrage from climate activists and many Democrats, who had previously boiled over Manchin’s refusal to support some of the party’s more ambitious spending proposals. In DecemberManchin has torpedo one Version 1.75 trillion dollars Biden’s economy and climate bill, called the Rebuild Better Act, angered the White House and Democrats, who pushed for a $3.5 trillion spending plan in the early days of the Biden administration.

Senate Finance Chairman Ron Wyden, who has authority for clean energy tax credits and corporate tax provisions, said: “I won’t deny my disappointment here, especially the because nearly all the problems in the energy and climate space have been solved. said in a statement.

“This is our last chance to avert the most catastrophic – and most costly – effects of climate change. We can’t go back a decade and cost hundreds of billions of dollars in damage. — if not trillions — of economic damage and remedial human damage are inevitable,” the Oregon Democrat added.

Democratic Senator Martin Heinrich of New Mexico questioned the chairmanship of the Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources.

“We have an opportunity to tackle the climate crisis right now. Senator Manchin’s refusal to act is infuriating me. It makes me question why he is the Chairman of the ENR. “, Heinrich wrote on Twitter.

Similarly, climate advocates, many of whom had predicted soon to see the energy and climate bill text, reacted Thursday night with shock and outrage.

“This is not a death sentence,” said Varshini Prakash, co-founder of climate youth group Sunrise Movement. “It’s clear that attracting corporate disruptors doesn’t work, and it will cost us a generation of voters.”

Tiernan Sittenfeld, senior vice president of government affairs at the Federation of Conservation Voters, said: “There are really no words to describe how horrified, outraged and disappointed we are. .

Manchin’s office points to rising inflation. “Political headlines mean nothing to the millions of Americans struggling to buy groceries and gas as inflation soars to 9.1%,” said Manchin spokesman Sam Runyon. “Senator Manchin believes it’s time for leaders to put political agendas aside, reassess and adjust to the economic realities facing the country to avoid implementing steps to add fuel to the fire of inflation.”

Data released on Wednesday showed inflation rose to a new pandemic-era peak in June, with consumer prices in the US soaring. 9.1% over the same period last year – the highest level in more than 40 years.

However, Evergreen Action co-founder Jamal Raad told CNN that Manchin’s argument for not spending more to avoid worsening inflation misses the mark when it comes to energy and climate.

“He didn’t even want to address inflation because the main cause of inflation was gas prices, and he decided we should invest more in fossil fuels,” Raad said.

Democrats are now pushing to extend the Affordable Care Act subsidies ahead of the August recession to avoid major rate hikes to be announced just before the midterm elections. term in November.

The subsidies were expanded as part of the Democrats’ American Rescue Plan Act and made coverage on Obamacare exchanges more affordable, leading to record enrollments. in this year. If they were allowed to expire at the end of the year, nearly all of the 13 million subsidized enrollees would see their premiums increase by 2023, according to the Kaiser Family Foundation. An analysis by the Urban Institute found that more than 3 million people could become uninsured.

Democrats are hoping to avoid the negative publicity of such premium increases. If Congress doesn’t act, in the fall, consumers will know how much more they could have to pay. Open enrollment begins November 1, one week before Election Day.

This story has been updated with additional information.

CNN’s Tami Luhby contributed to this report.

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I am passionate about journalism and using new technology to spread news. I am also interested in politics and economics, and I am always looking for ways to make a difference in the world. I am the CEO of Janaseva News, and I am 24 years old.

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