- Democrats are lighting up Manchin after he moved to obstruct their climate agenda.
- One Senate Democrat "questioned" whether Manchin should chair a key energy panel.
- Manchin maintains he's open to cut a deal on a climate bill later without committing.
Some fellow Senate Democrats have had enough of Joe Manchin.
A pair of his colleagues tore into the West Virginian on Friday after he dealt a serious blow to President Joe Biden's economic agenda, dispensing with the traditional deference lawmakers usually grant each other in favor of scorching attacks on his resistance to address the climate emergency.
"We have an opportunity to address the climate crisis right now," Sen. Martin Heinrich of New Mexico wrote on Twitter. "Senator Manchin's refusal to act is infuriating. It makes me question why he's Chair of ENR."
The attacks come after Manchin told top Democrats he would not support a bill before August that included new climate spending, like clean energy tax credits and incentives to get Americans to buy electric vehicles.
Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez of New York backed up Heinrich, thanking him for calling out Manchin and described it as courageous.
—Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (@AOC) July 15, 2022
Sen. Tina Smith of Minnesota, who has strongly pushed for transitioning to electric vehicles, assailed Manchin as well.
"It's infuriating and nothing short of tragic that Senator Manchin is walking away, again, from taking essential action on climate and clean energy," the Minnesota Democrat said in a statement. "The world is literally burning up while he joins every single Republican to stop strong action to cut emissions and speed the transition to clean energy for the survival of our planet, clean air and health, energy independence, and lower energy prices."
The US is bound to miss President Joe Biden's goal of slashing emissions in half by the end of the decade if Congress doesn't address climate. It's a target meant to restrain global warming at 1.5 degrees Celsius, the threshold in which severe storms, droughts, and floods becomes far more likely. The planet has already warmed 1.1 degrees Celsius.
Manchin has signaled that he would not support including the Democrats' climate and clean energy policies in a reconciliation bill before the August recess. That's the legislative maneuver Democrats are employing to approve it on their own without Republicans in the 50-50 Senate.
On Friday, Manchin cautioned that he is still negotiating with Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer but he wants to take another pause to review how the current decades-high level of inflation stands over the next month. He suggested he'd be open to either passing a skinny bill that slashed prescription drugs and extended Obamacare subsidies now or a larger climate, energy and healthcare package if it's a "good" bill in early September.
Henrich's comment about Manchin's chairmanship of the Senate Energy and Resources Committee illustrates the ever-deepening frustration among some of his colleagues. It is not unprecedented for party leaders to strip a defiant member of prime post, though that has become less common in recent years.