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Manchin threatens to back repeal of major climate and tax measure over Biden's energy policies

Manchin, who negotiated the sweeping climate, health and tax package known as the Inflation Reduction Act, said the administration has "completely" disregarded the measure's investments in fossil fuel.
Image: Joe Manchin
Sen. Joe Manchin, D-W.Va., warned he would support repealing the measure he helped negotiate if the Biden administration doesn't focus more on fossil fuel investments.Mariam Zuhaib / AP file

Sen. Joe Manchin, D-W.Va., says he would support the repeal of a sweeping bill he negotiated with Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., last year that includes major climate, health and tax provisions if the Biden administration does not change course in implementing fossil fuel investments in the legislation.

During an interview with Fox News’ Sean Hannity on Monday night, Manchin noted that $384 billion of the so-called Inflation Reduction Act was allocated for energy security.

“Now they’ve disregarded that completely, what was agreed upon — and they know exactly what we agreed upon,” Manchin said. “This was energy security, and you have not heard the word energy security out of their mouth since it was passed. It’s all about environment.”

Manchin said he would vote to repeal the act if the Biden administration continues on that path.

“Let me make it very clear: If this administration does not honor what it said it would do, and basically continue to liberalize that ... I will do everything I can in my power to prevent that from happening,” Manchin said.

“And if they don’t change, then I would vote to repeal my own bill,” he added.

The bill passed last year on a party-line vote, and Manchin’s support for its provisions could be critical in the narrowly divided Senate.

Manchin’s remarks come amid a standoff between House Speaker Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., and President Joe Biden to avert a potential default on U.S. debt in the coming months. McCarthy released a debt limit bill last week that he hopes to pass with Republican support, but it remains unclear whether he has the votes for his plan to hike the debt ceiling and cut spending. Democrats have expressed a unified opposition to McCarthy’s plan, and several of the 20 hard-right conservatives — who initially impeded McCarthy from winning the speakership this year — have threatened to vote against it this week.

In an op-ed published in The Wall Street Journal last month, Manchin argued that the Biden administration is “determined to pursue an ideological agenda rather than confront the clear and present danger that debts and deficits pose to our nation.”

"Specifically, they are ignoring the law’s intent to support and expand fossil energy and are redefining 'domestic energy' to increase clean-energy spending to potentially deficit-breaking levels," he added. "The administration is attempting at every turn to implement the bill it wanted, not the bill Congress actually passed."

“I believe the only person who can rein in this extremism is Mr. Biden,” Manchin wrote, while calling on Biden to sit down with “fiscally minded Republicans and Democrats to negotiate common-sense reforms to out-of-control fiscal policy.”

Manchin, who is up for re-election next year but has not formally announced his 2024 plans, struck a major deal with Schumer on the Inflation Reduction Act last year after he unexpectedly reversed his opposition to quickly move the broad filibuster-proof bill. The deal represented a major breakthrough for parts of Biden’s agenda, including raising taxes on some high earners and investments in energy security and climate change.