Joe Manchin, a Democratic senator from West Virginia, has been a key swing vote on climate policy in the Senate. He has both opposed and supported major climate legislation, and his votes have had a significant impact on the course of climate policy in the chamber.
5 times Joe Manchin changed the course of climate policy in the Senate
- Opposition to cap-and-trade legislation in 2010
In 2010, the House of Representatives passed the Waxman-Markey bill, which would have created a cap-and-trade system for greenhouse gas emissions. The bill was expected to pass the Senate, but Manchin joined a group of moderate Democrats in opposing it. He argued that the bill would raise energy costs and hurt the West Virginia economy.
Manchin’s opposition was a major blow to the Waxman-Markey bill, and it ultimately led to the bill’s defeat in the Senate.
- Support for the Inflation Reduction Act in 2022
In 2022, Manchin and Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer announced a deal on the Inflation Reduction Act, a smaller climate and social spending bill. The bill included a number of climate provisions, including tax credits for electric vehicles and clean energy, investments in renewable energy infrastructure, and a methane emissions fee.
Manchin’s support for the Inflation Reduction Act was a major breakthrough for climate policy. The bill was passed by the Senate along party lines and signed into law by President Biden in August 2022.
The Inflation Reduction Act is the largest climate investment in US history and is expected to reduce US carbon emissions by 40% by 2030.
- Opposition to the Build Back Better Act in 2021
In 2021, House Democrats passed the Build Back Better Act, a $1.75 trillion spending bill that included a number of climate provisions. The bill was passed by the House along party lines, but it faced opposition from Manchin in the Senate.
Manchin argued that the Build Back Better Act was too expensive and that it would add to the national debt. He also raised concerns about the bill’s methane emissions fee and its impact on the fossil fuel industry.
Manchin’s opposition to the Build Back Better Act ultimately led to the bill’s defeat in the Senate.
- Support for the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act in 2021
In 2021, Manchin voted in favor of the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act, a bipartisan infrastructure bill that included a number of climate provisions. The bill included investments in electric vehicle infrastructure, clean energy infrastructure, and climate resilience.
Manchin’s support for the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act was a major victory for climate policy. The bill was passed by the Senate with bipartisan support and signed into law by President Biden in November 2021.
- Opposition to a ban on fracking in 2022
In 2022, a group of Senate Democrats proposed a ban on fracking, a controversial method of extracting oil and gas from the ground. Manchin opposed the ban, arguing that it would harm the West Virginia economy and damage US energy security.
Manchin’s opposition to a ban on fracking was a major setback for climate policy. Fracking is a major source of methane emissions, a powerful greenhouse gas.
Joe Manchin has played a key role in shaping climate policy in the Senate. His votes have been both a boon and a bane for climate advocates. He has opposed major climate legislation, but he has also supported significant investments in clean energy and climate resilience.
Manchin’s votes on climate policy are likely to continue to be closely watched in the years to come. He is a swing vote in the Senate, and his decisions will have a significant impact on the course of climate policy in the United States.