Manchin Rescues Historic Climate Legislation

Manchin Rescues Historic Climate Legislation

In a stunning development that caught Washington by surprise, Senate Majority Leader Schumer and West Virginia Senator Joe Manchin announced an agreement to include in budget reconciliation legislation. In the aggregate, it will become the most significant domestic climate action in a generation, and supercharge American credibility globally in the 100 days leading up to COP27. Congress is now inches away from passing a $369.75 billion investment in energy security and climate change programs over the next 10 years.

PBS: Manchin, Schumer reach deal to address health care, climate change, the deficit, June 27, 2022.

MSNBC: Biden 'Incredibly Encouraged' By Deal On Reconciliation Package | WH, July 28, 2022.

The deal includes long-term clean energy tax credits that will translate into the rapid deployment of affordable and reliable clean energy, new incentives for the purchase of EVs and other types of clean commercial vehicles, $60 billion for environmental justice, $60 billion for clean energy manufacturing, $27 billion for a new federal green bank, and a new methane fee on emitters.

CNN: Progressive leader once said Manchin wasn't a real Democrat. See her reaction to Manchin's deal, July 28, 2022

Bloomberg: Record Methane Levels Made 2021 5th Hottest Year Since 2000, January 10, 2022.

Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health: Electric Vehicles - The Promise for Health and Equity, September 14, 2021.

CNBC: How The US Can Build A 100% Clean Grid, January 27, 2021.

Why This Matters

Manchin comes from one of the reddest states in the country, one heavily dependent on fossil fuels. His vote is decisive in a 50-50 Senate, where not a single Senate Republican (even blue state Republican) has negotiated on or supported climate legislation this year. Washington and the climate community were devastated earlier this month when Manchin appeared to defer climate legislation this year, and Congress instead resigned itself to passing a smaller bill focused on Medicare prescription drug costs and help for Obamacare. The move was especially devastating because the House of Representatives is expected to switch hands this November, closing the window for climate legislation. Manchin’s agreement with Schumer now changes all of that.

As described in a statement by Heather Zichal, CEO of American Clean Power: “The entire clean energy industry just breathed an enormous sigh of relief. This is an 11th hour reprieve for climate action and clean energy jobs, and America’s biggest legislative moment for climate and energy policy.”

CNN: Economic adviser, who reportedly helped convince Manchin, speaks to CNN, July 28, 2022.

Grantham Imperial: Dr Friederike Otto speaks to CNN's Connect the World about the extreme heat, 18 July 2022, July 19, 2022.

CBS: Climate change elevating risk of dangerous weather, July 25, 2022.

MSNBC: Republicans Need To Wake Up To Climate Crisis | Zerlina, July 21, 2022.

What Comes Next

The agreement must pass the Senate, then the House of Representatives. In the Senate, everyone is nervously waiting to confirm whether Senator Sinema (D-AZ) will support the new taxes Manchin agreed would pay for the package. Sinema supports clean energy and climate action, but in the past, has been leery of some of the tax provisions Manchin agreed to in the final language.

Democracy Now!: How Kyrsten Sinema, Once a Socialist, Is Now Obstructing the Democrats’ Progressive Platform, October 22, 2021.

Now This: How the GOP Has Changed on Climate Change, July 16, 2021.