Manchin restarts talks with other Democrats on climate, social spending bill: report
Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.), who in December essentially killed a massive climate and social spending package by saying he would not vote for it, has reopened conversations with his colleagues on the legislation, The Washington Post reported Thursday, citing two people familiar.
Manchin has told his fellow Democrats that a vote on the package must be taken before senators break for a recess in August, the Post reported.
The senator told them it was possible to reach a deal including billions of dollars to fight climate change, cut prescription drug costs and update the tax code, the Post reported. But he wanted concessions on oil and gas drilling in the Gulf of Mexico. The Interior Department has been slow to draft a new five-year plan for offshore oil and gas leasing in federal waters, while the current one is slated to expire at the end of June.
This comes after E&E News reported Wednesday that Manchin was ready to revive negotiations over the package and hoped for a deal to be reached during the Senate’s April and May work period on a slimmed down climate and social spending bill. According to E&E, there is text circulating, but it is at an early stage.
Also on Wednesday, Manchin outlined some energy policies he supports, including a tax credit for clean energy manufacturing and legislation that would replace fossil fuel generation with advanced nuclear power.
Manchin spokesperson Sam Runyon told The Hill on Wednesday that Manchin is “always willing to engage in discussions about the best way to move our country forward.”
Earlier this month, Manchin proposed limiting new spending to climate programs and cutting big social spending programs such as expanded child care, universal pre-kindergarten and national paid family leave out of a scaled down version of the package, which frustrated other Senate Democrats.
Manchin argued then that with high inflation, more social spending was not ideal.
“Inflation is the No. 1 enemy we have in America today,” he told reporters at the time.