Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) said Tuesday that Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) has personally promised him that Senate Democrats would not pursue a cap-and-trade bill during the next Congress.
On a conference call with West Virginia reporters, Manchin said, "I got his commitment that cap-and-trade will definitely not be on the agenda and won't be on the agenda during the next Congress," according to the Associated Press.
The National Republican Senatorial Committee blasted Manchin for backing Reid in Tuesday's Senate leadership elections even though no other Democrat ran for the top leadership spot.
In a release, the NRSC said Manchin "voted in lockstep with the Obama Democrats to keep anti-coal U.S. Senator Harry Reid as Senate Majority Leader."
The committee also hit Sens. Claire McCaskill (D-Mo.), Jon Tester (D-Mont.) and Ben Nelson (D-Neb.) with the same attack Tuesday.
The conservative Democrat took pains to separate himself from President Obama and Democratic leaders during his special election race against Republican businessman John Raese, who painted him as a rubber-stamp for Obama.
Manchin famously shot a hole through a copy of the cap-and-trade bill in one campaign ad.
Still, Manchin is already looking over his shoulder in anticipation of 2012, as many state and national Republicans are hopeful Rep. Shelley Moore Capito (R-W.Va.) might run against the Democrat in two years.
After passing on a Senate run earlier this year, Capito has yet to give any indication as to whether she's weighing a run against Manchin in 2012, but the governor's race is also a possibility.
A positive for Manchin — his favorables remain sky-high among West Virginia voters even after his bruising special election battle with Raese.
Numbers released Monday from West Virginia-based pollster Mark Blankenship show Manchin remains the state's most popular politician, just ahead of Capito.
Overall, 80 percent of voters have a favorable opinion of Manchin, compared to 77 percent who hold a favorable opinion of Capito.
Obama's numbers in the state are still poor — just 40 percent hold a favorable view of the president.