“Inflation is killing a lot of people. They can’t buy gas. They’re having trouble getting groceries,” Manchin told a West Virginia radio host on Friday. “Everything they buy and consume for their daily lives is a pain for them. Can’t we wait to make sure we don’t add to that?”
It was deja vu for climate hawks, who saw a similar climate bill fail under the Obama administration in 2010, after which then-President Barack Obama had to rely on executive action. .
Manchin dealt the final blow to the agenda this week, denying Democrats the chance to pass climate legislation for at least several years.
John Podesta, Obama’s climate adviser and founder of the Center for American Progress, told CNN: “He killed this, and he must own that.
Now Biden and the Democrats “have to explain why – in a context where Democrats at least have nominal control over the White House, House and Senate – they can’t get the job done.” “, Podesta said.
CNN spoke to 11 lawmakers, congressional staffers and outside climate advocates who said they largely blamed Manchin, a number that some sources described as difficult to pin down. , often find new reasons to procrastinate. A spokesman for Manchin declined to comment for this story.
Even as Manchin insisted on Friday that he was still open to a deal on climate measures in September, sources inside and outside the Senate told CNN they were deeply skeptical after months of the milestone being announced. move.
“It’s a bunch of assholes,” an exasperated senior Democratic aide told CNN, adding that Manchin “didn’t want to be held accountable.”
Others lamented that even as the administration seemed to focus on climate early on in Biden’s term, the congressional outcome was as strangely as Obama’s.
“When you have an ally in the White House, these issues become more thorny when we let them go,” House of Representatives Natural Resources Chairman Raúl Grijalva told CNN. “Climate change is a priority, but certainly as we get to this negotiating point, environmental issues, the climate crisis, frontline communities and indigenous issues are put in place, become part of the trade.
“This is a pattern that has always been continued.”
‘They will never say what they want’
Just days before Manchin implemented climate measures, Democrats felt confident they could strike a deal that would raise taxes on corporations and the wealthier, lower drug costs. prescription and address energy costs and the growing threat of climate change.
As negotiations came to a close in the middle of the week, Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer made some profound concessions to try to woo Manchin, offering to significantly reshape the bill to fit the bill. Manchin’s wish list, according to a Democratic source briefed on the negotiations – the revenue channel for tax reform; outstanding electric vehicle tax credit; additional measures to encourage more oil and gas drilling.
Schumer “gives in after concessions to at least get the best we can,” Senator Tina Smith of Minnesota told CNN. “For Senator Manchin to walk away from that goodwill negotiation is something that amazes me.”
Manchin’s approach to the latest talks is reminiscent of the failed Build Back Better talks in December, as well as the Party’s earlier negotiations on a clean electricity standard. Democracy that he eventually eliminated from earlier versions of the bill. Two sources involved in earlier negotiations with Manchin said the West Virginia senator and his staff often proved unstoppable.
Instead of saying what Manchin wants out of a deal, Manchin’s team often criticizes what the other side is offering, sources say.
“It’s like a salad from why they don’t like it,” a source said. “They will never say what they want; they will attack what you have. [Manchin] so desperate that he doesn’t want to appear trapped – because he wants to leave. It’s just slippery. “
A Democratic senator told CNN that there is a line in the negotiations that fail – they often involve energy, and Manchin has made it clear that investing in clean energy must come with drilling. more gas.
“I think that’s particularly an issue in the energy negotiations,” the Democratic senator said, adding that Manchin is chairman of the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee.
Adjust operating action
“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 a statement. Father.
Biden did not provide specifics about the types of climate action he would take, but climate advocates told CNN the administration should enact a series of strong rules to cut emissions from power plants, vehicles and the oil and gas industry.
With Manchin’s vote no longer viable, supporters told CNN that now is the time to dial the federal regulatory and executive action number up to 100.
Varshini Prakash, co-founder of the Rising Sun Movement, told CNN: “There’s no excuse now. “What I’m looking for is an agency that coordinates the broad response at the executive level that’s using every tool and agency at their disposal to tackle the climate crisis.”
John Larsen, climate expert and partner at nonpartisan consultancy Rhodium Group, says Biden still has time to differentiate himself from Obama’s legacy on climate by continuing to ramp up energy clean and gradually reduce fossil fuels.
“When [the 2010 bill] There was no discussion or action on climate until after the 2012 election, says Larsen.
“I think it weakens America,” Podesta said. “I think so [US Climate Envoy] John Kerry has done a great job, but in the end you have to prove that you can deliver on your commitments and that one’s strength comes from that. “