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Posts tagged ‘Joe Manchin’

Senate Democrats Pass $740 Billion Climate And Healthcare Reconciliation Package


By MICHAEL GINSBERG, CONGRESSIONAL REPORTER | August 07, 2022

Read more at https://dailycaller.com/2022/08/07/senate-democrats-pass-740-billion-climate-healthcare-reconciliation-package-inflation-reduction-act/

schumer manchin
(Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images) (Win McNamee/Getty Images)

The Senate passed the $740 billion Inflation Reduction Act on Sunday afternoon after an all-night session lasted more than 15 hours. The package, negotiated by Democratic Sens. Joe Manchin of West Virginia and Chuck Schumer of New York, passed along party lines, with Vice President Kamala Harris breaking the upper chamber’s 50-50 tie. The bill includes nearly $370 billion in green energy subsidies and tax credits, nearly $80 billion in funding for the Internal Revenue Service and a drug price setting mechanism for Medicare. It also establishes a 15% tax on corporations with market caps higher than $1 billion.

Although Democrats have repeatedly argued that the bill will reduce inflation, the University of Pennsylvania’s Penn Wharton Budget Model has “low confidence that the legislation will have any impact on inflation.” In addition, the bill will likely raise taxes for Americans in every bracket, despite President Joe Biden’s pledge to not raise taxes on anyone making less than $400,000 a year. The Inflation Reduction Act will pay down the federal deficit by more than $300 billion, the non-partisan Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget found.

Senators voted down 35 amendments and passed two, with the 48 Democrats and Independent Angus King of Maine agreeing that they would oppose all amendments offered during vote-a-rama to offer the legislation its best chance of passing. Independent Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders objected to the agreement, offering amendments that would restructure the child tax credit, but his proposal failed 97-1.

“They’re great amendments. I’m very happy and I think it says something that every Democrat and Republican voted against them. It says I’m doing something right,” Sanders complained, according to Politico. “I’m fighting for you. I think that should be the message — not to come up with a convoluted reason you can’t vote for it.”

Biden, whose team previously feuded with Manchin during negotiations, cheered the vote. (RELATED: Joe Manchin Says He Was ‘Ostracized’ And ‘Victimized’ Over Killing Build Back Better)

“Today, Senate Democrats passed the Inflation Reduction Act, siding with American families over special interests, voting to lower the cost of prescription drugs, health insurance, and energy and reduce the deficit while making the wealthiest corporations pay their fair share,” he said in a statement.

The House of Representatives will take up the legislation when it gets back from recess on Aug. 12, Majority Leader Steny Hoyer announced. The bill is expected to pass the lower chamber along party lines.

‘Who Is Running This Country?’: Charlamagne Goes After Biden, Dems on ‘The View’


By NICOLE SILVERIO, MEDIA REPORTER | July 25, 2022

Read more at https://dailycaller.com/2022/07/25/charlemagne-tha-god-biden-the-view/

Charlamagne Tha God on 'The View'
[Screenshot/The View]

Radio host Charlamagne Tha God criticized President Joe Biden’s leadership and Democrats on “The View” Monday.

Charlamagne interviewed Vice President Kamala Harris in December 2021, asking her whether Biden or Democratic West Virginia Sen. Joe Manchin is the “real president.” The vice president answered Biden is the president and told him not to “talk like a Republican.” Monday, co-host Joy Behar asked the rapper about the interview.

“What did she say?” the co-host asked.

“Nothing,” he responded. “She didn’t really give an answer. But as you can see, it seems that President Manchin is currently running this country. In hindsight, people thought I was being harsh by asking that question, but now it’s like well, damn, who is running this country? Is it President Biden or Manchin?”

Behar said Manchin has a lot of power for one person, then accused the system of being dysfunctional. She asked if he is “frustrated” by how Democrats are “countering the Republicans.”

“Yes, I feel like Democrats have tried every political strategy except for courage,” he said. “There are four things that need to be done to preserve democracy. One is, get rid of the filibuster so you can properly legislate.”

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“Manchin won’t have it,” Behar replied. “And [Democratic Arizona Sen.] Kyrsten Sinema, too. So, it’s not his [Biden’s] fault.”

Charlamagne called on Congress to pack the Supreme Court, pass a federal elections takeover bill and prosecute those involved in the January 6 Capitol riot. (RELATED: ‘The View’ Co-Hosts Blames ‘DINOs’ In Congress For Roe v. Wade Overturn) 

“It takes courage to vote to get rid of the filibuster, but it also takes courage to call out people like Joe Manchin, to call out people like Kyrsten Sinema and let us, the general public, know that people are blocking progress in this party,” he continued.

He credited Independent Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders and Democratic New York Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez for calling out their colleagues.

Manchin and Sinema have come under fire for opposing the abolition of the filibuster to pass two pieces of legislation aimed at weakening election security measures, and a recent bill intended to codify Roe v. Wade. Sinema argued abolishing the filibuster will lead to greater division during a fiery speech in January.

“The 2013 decision by Senate Democrats to eliminate the 60-vote threshold for most judicial and presidential nominations led directly to a response in 2017 by Senate Republicans, who eliminated the threshold for Supreme Court nominees,” she said. “These shortsighted actions by both parties have led to our current American judiciary and Supreme Court, which as I stand here today is considering questions regarding fundamental rights Americans have enjoyed for decades.”

Manchin has expressed opposition and voted against Biden’s Build Back Better plan, urged for the reinstatement of the Keystone XL Pipeline, and expressed concerns about the administration’s calls for the American people to purchase electric vehicles to combat rising gas prices. He was the sole Senate Democrat to vote against the Women’s Health Protection Act, which aimed to legalize third trimester abortion in all 50 states.

‘Entire World Is Watching’: Manchin Joins Calls for Russian Oil Import Ban


Reported by THOMAS CATENACCI, ENERGY & ENVIRONMENT REPORTER | March 01, 2022

Read more at https://dailycaller.com/2022/03/01/joe-manchin-crude-oil-imports-russia/

Lawmakers Briefed On Ukraine Situation In Closed Door Meetings
Drew Angerer/Getty Images

Democratic West Virginia Sen. Joe Manchin doubled down on his call for President Joe Biden to ban all Russian crude oil imports on Tuesday.

“It makes no sense at all for the United States to be buying millions of barrels of Russian oil and other petroleum products while Russia attacks the free and sovereign nation of Ukraine,” the West Virginia senator tweeted on Tuesday. “That’s why I’m calling on (President Joe Biden) to immediately stop all imports from Russia.”

Russia provided more oil to the U.S. than any other country except Canada last year, U.S. Energy Information Administration data showed. In total, the U.S. imported nearly 3 billion barrels of oil, or roughly 670,000 barrels per day, from Russia in 2021. Manchin, who is the Senate Energy and Natural Resources committee chairman, said the dependence on Russia for crude oil presents a threat to U.S. national security. He also echoed fossil fuel industry group in calling for greater domestic production of oil and gas. (RELATED: Biden, Allies Again Tap Emergency Crude Oil Stockpiles Amid Ukraine Crisis)

“The entire world is watching as Vladimir Putin uses energy as a weapon in an attempt to extort and coerce our European allies,” Manchin said in a statement Monday. “While Americans decry what is happening in Ukraine, the United States continues to allow the import of more than half a million barrels per day of crude oil and other petroleum products from Russia during this time of war.’

“This makes no sense at all and represents a clear and present danger to our nation’s energy security,” he said. “If there was ever a time to be energy independent, it is now.”

However, the White House has stopped short of sanctioning Russia’s key oil and gas sector, which funds about 40% of the nation’s federal budget. The administration said such sanctions would harm European and American consumers.

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced that he would order a ban on Russian oil imports on Monday, Bloomberg reported. But Canada imports a tiny fraction of its oil needs from Russia.

“Sanctioning energy would affect Russia’s income stream — certainly that would be a reason to do it — but it would also have extreme consequences on the world energy markets, particularly for our Allies in Europe,” White House press secretary Jen Psaki told reporters Monday.

When asked about Canada’s decision, Psaki said that “all options remain on the table.”

White House energy adviser Amos Hochstein said that banning oil imports from Russia would boost prices for Americans while making Russian state producers richer as well, in an interview with Bloomberg on Friday.

Democrats’ Abortion Bill That Would Go Further Than Roe Fails After Close Vote


Reported by LAUREL DUGGAN, SOCIAL ISSUES AND CULTURE REPORTER | February 28, 2022

Read more at https://dailycaller.com/2022/02/28/democrats-further-roe-vote-womens-health-protection-act-abortion-bill/

Schumer And Senate Democrats Hold News Conference On Abortion Rights Legislation
Win McNamee/Getty Images

Nearly every Senate Democrat voted in favor of legislation Monday which would have radically expanded abortion rights beyond even the Supreme Court’s ruling in Roe v. Wade. The Women’s Health Protection Act would have forced every state to allow abortions for any reason until at least the point of viability, generally defined at around six months into a pregnancy, and banned most restrictions on abortion up to the point of birth. Every Republican voted against the bill, and every Democrat except Sen. Joe Manchin voted in favor, NBC News reported.

The WHPA would have invalidated all state and local laws restricting what types of abortion procedures are permissible while banning requirements that doctors give women medical tests such as ultrasounds before administering abortions, unless such requirements also applied to “medically comparable procedures.” The bill proposed various deregulatory measures that would have loosened safety requirements nationwide for abortion providers, such as ending restrictions on doctors prescribing pills via “telemedicine” for do-it-yourself chemical abortions at home.

Abortion is a procedure used “primarily by women,” the bill explained before justifying the use of the word “woman,” and noting that “transgender men” and “non-binary individuals” need abortion rights too. 

“Women’s decisions over women’s health care belong to women, not to extremist right-wing legislatures,” commented Sen. Chuck Schumer, who called abortion a “fundamental right.”

Jeane Mancini, the president of the March for Life, said it was the most radical abortion legislation in American history. “This bill is obviously designed by pro-abortion politicians to appease the abortion lobby. Lawmakers, regardless of party affiliation, must reject it,” she commented.

The bill is an apparent attempt to codify the Supreme Court’s ruling in Roe v. Wade, which is being reconsidered by the Court and could potentially be overturned in June.

Manchin: Build Back Better Is ‘Dead’


Reported by ANDREW TRUNSKY | POLITICAL REPORTER | February 01, 2022

Read more at https://dailycaller.com/2022/02/01/joe-manchin-build-back-better-dead/

Senators Meet For Weekly Policy Luncheons
(Drew Angerer/Getty Images)

Democratic West Virginia Sen. Joe Manchin told reporters Tuesday that President Joe Biden’s Build Back Better bill was “dead” when asked about the status of renewed negotiations. Manchin preceded his remark by saying that “there is no Build Back Better bill,” adding, “I don’t know what you’re talking about.”

The centrist Democrat came out against the bill in December 2021, criticizing its size and scope amid decades-high inflation. His lack of support effectively killed any chance the bill had of passing the evenly-divided Senate, given Republicans’ unanimous opposition to it. Though Manchin did not support the House-passed bill and was unable to reach a compromise with his Democratic colleagues, he has not shut the door to potentially restarting negotiations in the future. He has also signaled support for several individual policies in the bill, including but not limited to climate change mitigation measures and universal pre-K. 

One policy that Democrats are insisting be prioritized in any reworked package is the expanded child tax credit, which the party adopted in March 2021 which expired at the end of the year. Several Democrats wrote to Biden directly, urging him to push for its adoption, while some Republicans have even offered their own alternatives if the credit remains scuttled.

Democrats’ Top Priority Before Fall Elections Is Rigging U.S. Voting Rules


Commentary BY: JONATHAN S. TOBIN | JANUARY 07, 2022

Read more at https://www.conservativereview.com/democrats-top-priority-before-fall-elections-is-rigging-u-s-voting-rules-2656251008.html/

U.S. Capitol after the insurrection

Have Democrats found the issue on which they can break what’s left of Senate traditions and parlay a 50-50 split into partisan domination? It’s far from clear that anything will be enough to move the two recalcitrant members of their caucus — Sens. Joe Manchin, D-W.Va., and Kyrsten Sinema, D-Ariz., — to change their minds about voting to change the chamber’s rules that require a majority of 60 in order to invoke cloture and end filibusters. But if anything will do it, it might be the claim that passing their game-changing federal voting rights bill is the only way to defend American democracy against Republican insurrectionists.

Manchin and Sinema’s opposition was the rock on which the Biden administration’s effort to pass their trillion-dollar “Build Back Better” spending bill broke in December. The pair felt comfortable resisting presidential pressure as well as a storm of abuse from leftists on legislation that would likely sink an already shaky economy and fuel record inflation.

But with their ambitious spending plans blocked, Democrats are pivoting in the new year to a renewed effort to pass something that is likely even dearer to the hearts of their left-wing base: changing voting laws to make it easier for Democrats to win elections. They are tying the “nuclear option” on the filibuster and passage of voting bills to their attempt to turn the one-year anniversary of the Jan. 6 Capitol riot into a festival aimed at demonizing all Republicans as “insurrectionist” traitors who present a threat to democracy.

With their cheering section in the corporate media treating “Insurrection Day” observances as if it were a new national holiday and more important than 9/11, they’ve created more leverage that could shift their two holdouts. If it does, that would allow Vice President Kamala Harris’ tie-breaking vote to transform the electoral landscape in a manner that will end federalism for all intents and purposes and give federal bureaucrats unprecedented power to help Democrats win elections.

Democratic Holdouts Could Be On Board This Time

The crucial point here is that, unlike “Build Back Better,” Manchin and Sinema have already endorsed both the John R. Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act and the even more far-reaching “Freedom to Vote Act.” So this will be a far sterner test of their principled opposition to a move that would essentially seek to make the Senate, like the House of Representatives, a purely majoritarian institution.

The Senate was designed by the republic’s Founders to act as a brake on the will of marginal majorities seeking to use a temporary advantage to enact laws that would transform the country with unknowable and potentially dangerous consequences.

The John R. Lewis Act would allow the federal government to intervene anywhere in the country to overrule local or state authorities whenever the left alleges that changes in the laws could theoretically disadvantage minority voters. That would override the U.S. Supreme Court 2013 ruling in Shelby County v. Holder that held that it was no longer legal for activist lawyers in the Department of Justice to act as if the country hadn’t been transformed since the Voting Rights Act of 1965 forced the end of de jure racial discrimination.

Legislation Would Federalize Elections

The “Freedom to Vote Act” would, in effect, federalize all elections. Along with turning Election Day into yet another national holiday, the act would impose early voting rules everywhere and allow voting by felons and attempts to influence those waiting to vote with gifts of food and water. It would make automatic voter registration, same-day registration, and online registration mandatory. It would also end partisan gerrymandering while still protecting often bizarrely shaped minority-majority districts that were created to ensure specific racial groups would dominate them.

Even more importantly, it would hamstring any efforts to ensure the integrity of the vote by preventing actions like the cleaning of voting rolls to ensure that people who have moved or died aren’t still registered. It would also ban widely popular voter ID rules, expand mail-in ballots, restrict efforts to ensure that their signatures are valid, and legalize vote harvesting. It would also impose new rules on campaign contributions in an attempt to override the Supreme Court’s 2010 Citizens United v. FEC decision that protected political speech.

Taken as a whole, the bill would make every future election resemble the chaos that affected the 2020 pandemic voting, removing guardrails that ensure fairness. Even if 2020 didn’t produce a fraudulent result, the election still undermined the credibility of the system (with Big Tech internet companies and the corporate media tilting the election against former President Donald Trump).

This Is Not Defending Democracy

But like their claims that the actions of a few hundred disorderly rioters was the moral equivalent of al-Qaida terrorism or the Confederates firing on Fort Sumter, the idea that these voting laws will defend democracy is nothing but gaslighting.

Harris recently claimed the “biggest national security challenge” facing the country was the alleged “threat to democracy” presented by Republicans enacting laws in various states to strengthen voter integrity measures. The House’s Jan. 6 Committee is a partisan kangaroo court in which Democrats, along with two GOP turncoats (Reps. Liz Cheney, R-Wyo., and Adam Kinzinger, R-Ill.), are attempting to mainstream conspiracy theories about Trump and the GOP. Their efforts to delegitimize opposition to President Joe Biden and leftist woke doctrines as “insurrection” continue, and the room for even moderate Democrats to oppose the left’s impulse to crush all opposition is growing smaller.

A vote to end the filibuster and pass these voting laws would be far from a defense of democracy or an appropriate answer to “insurrection.” This would be a stunning blow to the way the Senate has always ensured that slim majorities can’t enact legislative revolutions.

The essence of American democracy has always been the way the Constitution created a system that preserved order while allowing incremental rather than wholesale change. Belief in that concept used to have bipartisan consensus. But not for today’s Democratic Party. It is led by an aging president who is held captive by a leftist base that wants to create a legislative revolution now, before Democrats’ razor-thin majorities are erased in the 2022 midterms. That means changing the rules to get their way by any means possible is an imperative.

Some radical Democratic provocateurs are claiming that if they don’t get their way, Republicans will never allow another fair election. Although a Republican counter-claim along the same lines may sound like hyperbole, it would be closer to the truth to assert that ending the filibuster and passing the Democrats’ voting laws would be a genuine threat to the integrity of American democracy.

It may be that after the Democrats’ conspiracy-mongering about Russian collusion in 2016 and Trump’s “stop the steal” claims about 2020, neither side will ever fully accept any election loss in the future. But if Manchin and Sinema don’t stand their ground, the system will be changed in a manner that will make cynicism about rigged voting more a matter of common sense than tinfoil-hatted extremism.

Kamala Harris Says ‘Our Democracy’ Is The Biggest National Security Challenge America Faces


Reported by ANDREW JOSE | CONTRIBUTOR | December 27, 2021

Read more at https://dailycaller.com/2021/12/27/face-the-nation-kamala-harris-democracy/

Vice President Kamala Harris on "Face the Nation"
(Screenshot/CBS Face The Nation via YouTube)

Vice President Kamala Harris said in a Sunday interview with CBS that one of the biggest security challenges facing the U.S. is the nation’s democracy.

During an episode of “Face The Nation” that aired Sunday, Harris and CBS News’ Margaret Brennan discussed the many policy challenges facing President Joe Biden’s administration toward the end of 2021. The topics included the rise in COVID-19 cases due to the Omicron variant, Biden’s bid to get Americans vaccinated, Democratic West Virginia Sen. Joe Manchin’s opposition to the Build Back Better Act and election policies.

WATCH:

The duo also discussed national security, with Brennan asking Harris, “What do you see is the biggest national security challenge confronting the U.S.? What is the thing that worries you and keeps you up at night?” — to which Harris replied, “Frankly, one of them is our democracy. And that I can talk about because that’s not classified.”

“I think no question in the minds of people who are foreign policy experts that the year 2021 is not the year 2000,” the Vice President went on to say. “[W]e are embarking on a — a new era where the threats to our nation take many forms, including the threat of autocracies taking over and having outsized influence around the world. And so I go back to our — our point about the need to fight for the integrity of our democracy,” Harris said.

Earlier in the conversation, Harris had argued that 33 state laws were “making it difficult for the American people to vote,” allegedly representing a threat to “one of the most important pillars of a democracy, which is a free and fair election.”

Harris also championed the John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act and the Freedom to Vote Act, which she believes would ensure that citizens have “unfettered access to their right to vote” and safeguard “the integrity of our democracy.” 

The two bills, facing opposition from Congressional Republicans, seek to bring into effect automatic registration provisions for voting and make Election Day a national holiday, among other things.

Harris also said that “climate crisis” is another security issue the Biden administration prioritizes and is working on by seeking to “to re-enter … the Paris Agreement” and working with the U.S. allies in Europe.

Today’s Politically INCORRECT Cartoon by A.F. Branco


A.F. Branco Cartoon – Whispered Thank Yous

A.F. BRANCO on December 21, 2021 | https://comicallyincorrect.com/a-f-branco-cartoon-whispered-thank-yous/

Many Democrats are silently thanking Senator Manchin for killing the “Build Back better” disaster. 

Grateful for Senator Manchin
Political cartoon by A.F. Branco ©2021.

Donations/Tips accepted and appreciated – $1.00 – $5.00 – $25.00 – $50.00 – $100 – it all helps to fund this website and keep the cartoons coming. Also Venmo @AFBranco – THANK YOU!

A.F. Branco has taken his two greatest passions, (art and politics) and translated them into the cartoons that have been popular all over the country, in various news outlets including “Fox News”, MSNBC, CBS, ABC, and “The Washington Post.” He has been recognized by such personalities as Dinesh D’Souza, James Woods, Sarah Palin, Larry Elder, Lars Larson, Rush Limbaugh, and shared by President Donald Trump.

‘They Know The Real Reason’: Manchin Fires Back At The White House After Gloves-Off Statement Criticizes His Opposition To BBB


Reported by ANDREW TRUNSKY | POLITICAL REPORTER | December 20, 2021

Read more at https://dailycaller.com/2021/12/20/joe-manchin-fires-back-after-gloves-off-statement-opposition-bidens-spending-package/

Sen. Joe Manchin Makes A Statement On Reconciliation Bill
Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

West Virginia Democratic Sen. Joe Manchin fired back at the White House Monday after it put out a blistering statement criticizing him for opposing President Joe Biden’s domestic spending package. In an interview with West Virginia’s Hoppy Kercheval, Manchin said that while he “figured they would come back strong,” they knew that Manchin could not support the bill they were backing.

“You know me, always willing to work and listen and try. I just got to the wit’s end, and they know the real reason” things fell apart, Manchin said, referring to the White House.

“[The staff] put some things out that were absolutely inexcusable,” Manchin added. “They know what it is and that’s it.”

White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki. (Drew Angerer/Getty Images)

The White House had increasingly pressured Manchin to back the bill in recent days as Senate Democrats raced to pass it before the end of the year, but the West Virginia senator and Biden were unable to compromise on the multiple remaining disagreements over the legislation. Manchin said that the White House had miscalculated.

“They figured surely to God we can move one person,” Manchin said. “We surely can badger and beat one person up. Surely, we can get enough protesters to make that person uncomfortable enough that they’ll just say, ‘OK I’ll vote for anything.’”

“Well, guess what? I’m from West Virginia,” Manchin added. “I’m not from where they’re from and they can just beat the living crap out of people and think they’ll be submissive, period.”

The White House also put out a statement Thursday night that named Manchin three times and said that the key Democrat still backed a $1.7 trillion package, and that more negotiating time was needed.

Manchin, however, responded dryly. “I said that was the President’s statement. That wasn’t my statement,” he told Kercheval.

Manchin officially came out against the bill Sunday morning, saying that he could not explain supporting it to his constituents and that he had concerns over inflation, rising coronavirus cases and geopolitical uncertainty.

The White House responded later Sunday, calling Manchin’s position “at odds with his discussions this week with the President, with White House staff, and with his own public utterances.”

Today’s Politically INCORRECT Cartoon by A.F. Branco


A.F. Branco Cartoon – Busted Back Better

A.F. BRANCO on December 20, 2021 | https://comicallyincorrect.com/a-f-branco-cartoon-busted-back-better/

Senator Manchin has stopped Biden and the Democrat’s “Build Back Better” Scheme to destroy America.

Manchin Kills “Build Back Better”
Political cartoon by A.F. Branco ©2021.

Donations/Tips accepted and appreciated – $1.00 – $5.00 – $25.00 – $50.00 – $100 – it all helps to fund this website and keep the cartoons coming. Also Venmo @AFBranco – THANK YOU!

A.F. Branco has taken his two greatest passions, (art and politics) and translated them into the cartoons that have been popular all over the country, in various news outlets including “Fox News”, MSNBC, CBS, ABC, and “The Washington Post.” He has been recognized by such personalities as Dinesh D’Souza, James Woods, Sarah Palin, Larry Elder, Lars Larson, Rush Limbaugh, and shared by President Donald Trump.

Democrats Strike Offshore Drilling Ban After Manchin Opposition: REPORT


Reported by THOMAS CATENACCI | ENERGY & ENVIRONMENT REPORTER | December 17, 2021

Read more at https://dailycaller.com/2021/12/17/democrats-offshore-oil-gas-drilling-ban-joe-manchin/

Semi-submersible Drilling Platform, Noble Danny Adkins, Moved Through Port Aransas Channel
Tom Pennington/Getty Images

Democratic lawmakers reportedly eliminated a proposed measure to ban offshore oil and gas drilling along the U.S. coastline from their sweeping spending package after Democratic Sen. Joe Manchin announced his opposition.

The provision was absent from an early draft of the roughly $2.2 trillion Build Back Better Act that was circulated on Capitol Hill by the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee which Manchin chairs, congressional aides told The New York Times and The Washington Post. The restriction would have applied to all drilling rigs located in the Atlantic Ocean and Pacific Ocean as well as the Gulf of Mexico.

“This is a tragic milestone in the seemingly inevitable dismantling of the Build Back Better Act,” Center for Biological Diversity government affairs director Brett Hartl told the NYT. “Why Senator Manchin wants to poison our coasts while he lives the good life in his landlocked state only shows just how out of touch he is with the overwhelming public support for ending offshore drilling.”

Manchin, a key swing vote in the 50-50 Senate, also expressed concerns with proposed restrictions on oil and gas leasing in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge in Alaska, the Post reported. However, that provision remains in the legislation’s draft. 

Sen. Joe Manchin walks out of a meeting with fellow Democratic senators on Wednesday. (Anna Moneymaker/Getty Images)

Sen. Joe Manchin walks out of a meeting with fellow Democratic senators on Wednesday. (Anna Moneymaker/Getty Images)

Manchin’s office didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment from the Daily Caller News Foundation. The White House declined to comment on “the minutia of the negotiations” in a statement to the NYT.

“The unknown we’re facing today is much greater than the need that people believe in this aspirational bill that we’re looking at,” Manchin said in an interview with The Wall Street Journal on Dec. 7. “We’ve gotta make sure we get this right. We just can’t continue to flood the market, as we’ve done.”

“We’ve done so many good things in the last 10 months, and no one is taking a breath,” the West Virginia senator added.

Manchin, whose state continues to rely on the coal industry for jobs and revenue, has played a major part in striking key climate provisions from the Build Back Better Act during negotiations. He was largely responsible for the removal of the $150 billion Clean Electricity Performance Program and his position has cast doubt on other measures like a methane fee for major emitters.

The Democratic senator also pushed back on the inclusion of a child tax credit extension in the bill in negotiations with President Joe Biden, creating a major stalemate.

‘Cannot Power The World With Solar Panels And Wind Turbines Alone’: Bipartisan Lawmakers Advocate For Increased Nuclear Energy


Reported by HOMAS CATENACCI | ENERGY & ENVIRONMENT REPORTER | December 01, 2021

Read more at https://dailycaller.com/2021/12/01/nuclear-energy-joe-manchin-john-barrasso/

US-POLITICS-HEARING-ENERGY-GRANHOLM
Jim Watson/AFP via Getty Images

Bipartisan leaders of the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee vowed to continue promoting nuclear energy during an industry conference Wednesday.

Both Energy Committee Chairman Joe Manchin and Ranking Member John Barrasso reiterated their support for nuclear energy during the American Nuclear Society winter conference in Washington, D.C., arguing that an economy-wide transition to clean energy would be impossible without it. The Senate leaders added that the U.S. must produce more energy and avoid reliance on foreign entities.

“The reality is that you cannot power the world with solar panels and wind turbines alone,” Barrasso said during his remarks. “The demands for energy worldwide are going to continue to increase. Not just in the United States, you’re gonna see that worldwide.”

“Every time we use energy, we’re using it more efficiently, but you still have increased demands,” the Wyoming Republican added. “Nuclear has to be a very, very important part of that.”

Barrasso said more members of Congress should support nuclear energy because of its efficiency and built-in storage systems unlike solar and wind power. 

“It is smaller, it’s more efficient and includes an energy storage system when the wind isn’t blowing and the sun isn’t shining,” he said. “It’s an interesting debate that I have occasionally with the Bernie Sanders’ of the world who is not pro-nuclear. He should be, but he’s not.”

Republican Sen. John Barrasso speaks alongside other GOP lawmakers during a press conference on rising gas an energy prices on Oct. 27. (Samuel Corum/Getty Images)

Republican Sen. John Barrasso speaks alongside other GOP lawmakers during a press conference on rising gas and energy prices on Oct. 27. (Samuel Corum/Getty Images)

In July, Barrasso and a bipartisan group of senators introduced the American Nuclear Infrastructure Act (ANIA), which proposed to bolster domestic nuclear reactor development. The bill was ultimately included in the infrastructure package signed into law by President Joe Biden on Nov. 15.

Manchin highlighted the legislation Wednesday, saying it was part of the “significant progress” made by the U.S. in advancing nuclear infrastructure over the last year. He noted that the ANIA funds two billion-dollar advanced reactor projects, allocates $6 billion for supporting financially-strained nuclear plants and includes money for developing a nuclear-powered clean hydrogen hub.

“I will continue pushing for the inclusion of funding for the advanced nuclear fuel availability program,” Manchin said during a pre-recorded speech. “As you know, proper funding of this program will ensure a domestic supply of high-assay low-enriched uranium, eliminating reliance on Russia or other foreign suppliers.”

“The U.S. must maintain our nuclear supply chain, creating high paying manufacturing jobs and reassert U.S. leadership,” he continued.

The Energy and Natural Resources Committee held a hearing on the future of nuclear in the U.S. on Nov. 4. Witnesses included experts from the Idaho National Laboratory, American Electric Power and Council of Radionuclides and Radiopharmaceuticals, who all testified in favor of nuclear.

From Climate Change To Tax Cuts, Major Parts Of Democrats’ $2T Spending Bill Could Be On Senate Chopping Block


Reported by ANDREW TRUNSKY | POLITICAL REPORTER | November 28, 2021

Read more at https://dailycaller.com/2021/11/28/climate-change-tax-cuts-senate-chopping-block-major-provisions-democrats-2t-bill/

Senators Meet For Weekly Policy Luncheons
(Drew Angerer/Getty Images)

House Democrats passed President Joe Biden’s nearly $2 trillion spending package Nov. 19 after months of high-stakes negotiations, but it faces an even rockier path through the 50-50 Senate before becoming law. Though the bill faces another vote-a-rama, which allows Republicans the opportunity to force unlimited, politically tricky votes on various amendments, this may prove to be far from the biggest hurdle. Senators from Joe Manchin of West Virginia, the most conservative Democrat in the chamber, to Bernie Sanders of Vermont, an independent who caucuses with Democrats, are already on-record opposing various provisions and are preparing to rework the House-passed bill.

After the bill passed the House on near party lines Nov. 19, leadership touted many of the provisions at risk of omission, saying that the differences between House and Senate Democrats were minimal.

“Ninety percent of the bill was written together — House, Senate, White House,” House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said at a press conference shortly after the bill passed, adding that while “some minor changes” may occur, they would be “nothing major in my opinion.”

But Pelosi’s optimism may not pan out, as Senate Democrats zero in on policies from paid family leave to state and local tax (SALT) deductions. Other provisions from raising taxes on wealthy Americans and corporations to overhauling IRS monitoring of personal bank accounts, have already been scrapped due to opposition from centrist Democrats like Manchin and Arizona Sen. Kyrsten Sinema.

Below are several policies that may fall victim to Senate Democrats, despite their House colleagues’ best efforts to make them law. 

Democrats react to the passage of the Build Back Better Act the morning of Nov. 19. Its passage was undoubtedly a victory Speaker Nancy Pelosi.(Anna Moneymaker/Getty Images)

Manchin has repeatedly said that he opposes paid family and medical leave’s inclusion in the package, though he has also said he would support a bipartisan bill establishing it in the future. While the original proposal included 12 weeks of paid family leave, the House-passed bill has just four and would not begin until 2024. 

“That’s a challenge,” Manchin said in early November when news broke that Democrats were planning to re-add the provision to the bill despite his stated opposition. “I just don’t support ‘unpaid’ leave. That means getting more debt and basically putting more social programs that we can’t pay for.”

Manchin has also said that any reconciliation bill must include the Hyde Amendment, which bars Americans’ tax dollars from funding abortions in nearly all cases. The amendment was excluded from the House bill. House Democrats from high-tax states like California, New York and New Jersey insisted that the SALT cap be lifted from the current $10,000 cap adopted in 2017 as part of former President Donald Trump’s Tax Cuts and Jobs Act. In their version of Biden’s package, the cap would be lifted to $80,000 annually through 2030.

While the policy was touted by coastal House Democrats, including Pelosi, some of their Senate colleagues have staunchly objected to including a tax cut that would overwhelmingly benefit the wealthy Americans.

“[I’m] not a big fan,” Montana Democratic Sen. Jon Tester said of the SALT provisions after the House passed the bill. “I think it gives tax breaks to the wrong people: rich people.”

Sanders, who has long opposed raising the SALT cap, was even blunter. “I think it’s bad politics, it’s bad policy … The bottom line is, we have to help the middle class, not the 1%,” he said.

Even Manchin, who constantly torpedoed Sanders’ attempts to broaden the overall bill, has opposed reigning in how much in taxes Americans can deduct via SALT. While he has not commented publicly on the provision, he was the only Democrat who endorsed Republicans’ effort to establish the cap four years ago. 

Sen. Bernie Sanders speaks with reporters as he leaves the Capitol in October. (Anna Moneymaker/Getty Images)

Manchin has already scrubbed the White House’s proposed Clean Electricity Payment Program from the bill, and, along with Tester, ruling out a carbon tax as a replacement provision shortly after.

Manchin also reportedly objected to a union-made electric vehicle credit. The House-passed bill would allow for a $7,500 tax deduction on all electric vehicles and an additional $4,500 deduction on vehicles from companies meeting particular outlined criteria. As a result, an electric vehicle from General Motors or Ford could receive $12,000 in deductions, while one from Toyota, which has a large presence in West Virginia, could receive just $7,500.

“This can’t happen. It’s not who we are as a country. It’s not how we built this country, and the product should speak for itself,” Manchin told Automotive News on Nov. 11 while at a Toyota plant in his home state. “We shouldn’t use everyone’s tax dollars to pick winners and losers … Hopefully, we’ll get that … corrected.”

Climate change provisions also account for about $550 billion of the House-passed bill, and moderates, including Manchin, have insisted that the bill be fully paid for. The Congressional Budget Office estimated last week that the package would add about $367 billion to the deficit over 10 years, not including potential revenue from IRS enforcement, meaning that the provisions could be tampered down if senators object to the bill’s overall price tag. 

Included in the House-passed bill is a provision that would grant provisional work permits to as many as 6.5 million noncitizen immigrants. Democrats hope that this will be the first step on a pathway to citizenship, but their last two attempts to include some type of immigration reform have been blocked by the Senate Parliamentarian, who ruled that the changes didn’t directly impact the budget to a point where they could be included in the filibuster-proof legislation.

“I do support the immigration proposals that are being offered in the upcoming reconciliation package,” Sinema told the Arizona Republic earlier in November. “I also recognize that there are legal limitations to what can be done in a reconciliation package.”

Joe Manchin Again Urges Biden To Reinstate Keystone XL Pipeline


Reported by THOMAS CATENACCI | ENERGY & ENVIRONMENT REPORTER | November 23, 2021

Read more at https://dailycaller.com/2021/11/23/joe-manchin-energy-independence-joe-biden-keystone-xl-pipeline/

Sen. Joe Manchin Makes A Statement On Reconciliation Bill
Pete Marovich/Getty Images

Democratic West Virginia Sen. Joe Manchin redoubled his efforts to convince President Joe Biden to reinstate the Keystone XL pipeline, arguing that it would bolster U.S. energy independence. Manchin, the chairman of the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee, made the comments following Biden’s decision to tap into the U.S. emergency oil stockpile. The federal government will release approximately 50 million barrels of oil from its Strategic Petroleum Reserve, the White House said Tuesday.

“I continue to call on President Biden to responsibly increase energy production here at home and to reverse course to allow the Keystone XL pipeline to be built which would have provided our country with up to 900,000 barrels of oil per day from Canada, one of our closest allies,” Manchin said in a statement.

“To be clear, this is about American energy independence and the fact that hard working Americans should not depend on foreign actors, like OPEC+, for our energy security and instead focus on the real challenges facing our country’s future,” he continued. 

Sen. Joe Manchin stands next to Sen. Mitt Romney as they arrive before President Joe Biden takes part in a signing ceremony for the bipartisan infrastructure bill on Nov. 15. (Mandel Ngan/AFP via Getty Images)

Sen. Joe Manchin stands next to Sen. Mitt Romney as they arrive before President Joe Biden takes part in a signing ceremony for the bipartisan infrastructure bill on Nov. 15. (Mandel Ngan/AFP via Getty Images)

Shortly after Biden revoked Keystone XL’s federal permit, Manchin urged the president to reconsider. Pipelines are the nation’s “safest mode to transport our oil,” the West Virginia Democrat stated at the time.

But the president has continued to pursue an aggressive, anti-fossil fuel agenda that includes nixing pipelines importing crude oil, ditching oil drilling projects and banning new oil and gas leases on federal lands. Biden has vowed to set the U.S. on course to having a carbon-free electric grid by 2035 and net zero emissions by 2050.

“This is the decade that will determine the answer. This decade,” Biden said during an international climate summit on Nov. 1. “The science is clear: We only have a brief window left before us to raise our ambitions and to raise — to meet the task that’s rapidly narrowing.”

Manchin, however, has stood in the way of Biden’s climate agenda, causing Democrats to strike the $150 billion Clean Electricity Performance Program from the Build Back Better Act. It remains unclear whether he will vote in favor of the current form of the spending package which includes a tax on methane emissions.

Oil Prices Rise After Biden Announces Emergency Action

Reported by THOMAS CATENACCI | ENERGY & ENVIRONMENT REPORTER | November 23, 2021

Read more at https://dailycaller.com/2021/11/23/crude-oil-prices-joe-biden-strategic-petroleum-reserve/

President Biden Receives Covid-19 Booster Shot At The White House
Anna Moneymaker/Getty Images

Domestic and international oil price indices rose Tuesday, even after President Joe Biden and other world leaders coordinated a release of emergency reserves.

The West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude oil index, which measures U.S. prices, increased more than 2% to $78.44 per barrel while the European Brent Crude index ticked up nearly 3%, hitting $82 per barrel. But, in an effort to knock down high gasoline prices, which are tied to the cost of oil, Biden joined several nations, including China, Japan and the U.K., in releasing tens of millions of barrels of oil from emergency reserves.

The White House said the U.S. would withdraw 50 million barrels from its Strategic Petroleum Reserve (SPR), established in the 1970s for future energy crises and currently holding about 604 million barrels in inventory. The U.S. consumes 18-19 million barrels of oil per day, and the world consumes nearly 100 million total barrels per day, according to the International Energy Agency.

“Joe Biden is going to release 50 million barrels of oil from the Strategic Petroleum Reserve. That is less than three days of U.S. oil consumption,” Steve Milloy, a former member of the Trump transition team, tweeted. “The release will have no meaningful impact on gas prices. Ridiculous.”

“Biden could collapse the price of oil today and create an economic boom by simply ending his war against fracking and returning to the Trump policy of energy dominance,” Milloy continued. “Instead, we get this trivial release of oil and a false accusation so price gouging.” 

Indigenous environmental activists march through Black Lives Matter Plaza on their way to the White House as part of a protest against oil pipelines on April 1. (Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

Indigenous environmental activists march through Black Lives Matter Plaza on their way to the White House as part of a protest against oil pipelines on April 1. (Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

Energy industry experts and Republican lawmakers echoed Milloy’s comments Tuesday, arguing the move was driven by politics rather than a desire to lower prices over the long term. Democratic Sen. Joe Manchin, the chairman of the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee, shared in the criticism, saying Biden should do more than apply a “band-aid” to fix the issue.

“Historic inflation taxes and the lack of a comprehensive all-of-the-above energy policy pose a clear and present threat to (Americans’) economic and energy security that can no longer be ignored,” Manchin said in a statement.

The president previously acknowledged that releasing emergency reserves would have a limited impact.

The price of oil is likely to stay elevated since the market has already reacted to the emergency reserve release, according to a recent Goldman Sachs industry report. Investors expected such a move, the report added.

“It’s going up because it’s not more, and (investors are) reading no changes in the US policies towards oil and gas production,” Dan Kish, a senior fellow at the Institute for Energy Research, told the Daily Caller News Foundation.

Biden has pursued an aggressive climate agenda, attacking the U.S. oil and gas industry by nixing pipelines, ditching drilling projects and introducing broad regulations. He also accused the industry of price gouging in a letter to the Federal Trade Commission.

‘We’re Almost There’: Pelosi Says There Will Be A Deal On $3.5 Trillion Spending Bill Before Biden Goes To Europe


Reported by SHAKHZOD YULDOSHBOEV | CONTRIBUTOR

Read more at https://dailycaller.com/2021/10/24/nancy-pelosi-social-spending-bill-deal/

Nancy Pelosi On Reconciliation Bill
(Screenshot/CNN)

Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi said Sunday that Democrats were close to reaching a deal on the contested $3.5 trillion Build Back Better Act. Pelosi appeared Sunday on CNN’s “State of the Union,” where she claimed that Democrats had “90% of the [reconciliation] bill agreed to and written,” having overcome longstanding disagreements between the moderates and the left flank of the Democratic Party.

Host Jake Tapper asked the Pelosi if the deal would be finalized before President Joe Biden leaves for Europe at the end of the month. Biden is scheduled to meet Pope Francis at the Vatican Oct. 29.

“You’ll have a deal by Thursday or Friday?” he asked the show’s guest.

“I think we’re pretty much there now,” Pelosi responded. “We’re almost there. It’s just the language of it.”

Pelosi noted that the size of the social spending bill was turning out to be less than projected, but still sufficient to bolster the president’s economic agenda

Tapper then remarked that two deadlines on a House vote on the $1.2 trillion Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act (IIJA) had been “missed because of the progressives” who held the bill hostage until there was an agreement on the larger package.

“Wait a minute,” Pelosi interrupted the host. “There was no deadline that was missed because of the progressives. The deadline was missed because they changed from 3.5 [trillion] to one-half of that, and we’ve had to go in.”

Democratic West Virginia Sen. Joe Manchin was set to meet Sunday with Biden and Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer in Delaware to discuss the fate of the spending bill.

Manchin Confirms $1.5 Trillion Is His Top-Line Spending Number For Reconciliation Package, Says Biden Wants More


Reported by SHELBY TALCOTT | SENIOR WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT | September 30, 2021

Read more at https://dailycaller.com/2021/09/30/joe-manchin-1-5-trillion-top-line-spending-number-reconciliation-joe-biden-wants-more/

WASHINGTON, DC - SEPTEMBER 30: Sen. Joe Manchin (D-WV) speaks to reporters outside of the U.S. Capitol on September 30, 2021 in Washington, DC. The Senate is expected to pass a short term spending bill to avoid a government shutdown. (Photo by Kevin Dietsch/Getty Images)
Photo by Kevin Dietsch/Getty Images

Democratic West Virginia Sen. Joe Manchin confirmed Thursday that he proposed a $1.5 trillion maximum spending number for the reconciliation package Democrats are trying to pass. Manchin, a key holdout to the hefty $3.5 trillion bill, proposed a $1.5 trillion deal to Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer over the summer, Politico reported Thursday. Manchin has been openly critical of the spending bill, advising members of his caucus earlier in September to “hit the pause button” and raising concerns over its price tag.

While it’s long been reported that Manchin’s top line falls far below the $3.5 trillion proposal, Thursday’s reporting revealed that the Democratic senator compiled a physical one-page document outlining his ideal cost as well as various conditions.

Manchin’s document suggested raising the corporate tax rate to 25% and raising the top tax rate on income to 39.6%, according to Politico, which obtained a copy of the document. Manchin and Schumer signed the document, which noted that the former lawmaker does not guarantee that he will vote for the final reconciliation legislation if it exceeds the conditions outlined in this agreement.”

Schumer wrote a note on the document vowing to “try to change Joe [Biden] on some of these,” Politico reported. 

Manchin confirmed the number to reporters Thursday, and said Biden is aware of his $1.5 trillion top-line. This is the first time the senator shared the number publicly with the press.

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Manchin noted that the president wanted “a lot more than” that. The White House has been evasive on whether Manchin or Democratic Arizona Sen. Kyrsten Sinema, another holdout, had given Biden a solid number that they’d accept for the package.

“I would point you again to Sen. Sinema and Sen. Manchin,” White House press secretary Jen Psaki said Wednesday. “We knew that it would be a compromise, and that’s exactly what it is. And as you know, the President has spent a great bit of time, relatively so, but given nothing more precious than the time of the President of the United States over the last two days engaging with each of these senators about the path forward. But I would leave it to them to describe what they’re comfortable with.”

Manchin also said that if Democrats want a higher price tag, they should get more progressives elected.

“For them to get theirs, elect more liberals. I’m willing to come from 0 to $1.5,” Manchin said

‘We Have A Deal’: Biden Reaches Bipartisan Infrastructure Agreement


Reported by ANDERS HAGSTROM, WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT | June 24, 2021

Read more at https://dailycaller.com/2021/06/24/biden-manchin-infrastructure-deal/

President Biden Speaks On Country's COVID-19 Response And The Vaccination Effort
(Photo by Drew Angerer/Getty Images)

President Joe Biden reached a deal with a bipartisan group of senators to pass a $1.2 trillion infrastructure bill, he announced at the White House on Thursday.

Republican Utah Sen. Mitt Romney, Republican Maine Sen. Susan Collins and Democratic West Virginia Sen. Joe Manchin announced Wednesday evening they had reached the beginnings of an agreement. The meeting, which included five Republican senators, five Democratic senators and several top White house officials, continued with Biden at the White House on Thursday.

Biden met with the group for just 30 minutes before emerging from the West Wing and announcing “We have a deal.”

The $1.2 trillion deal includes $579 billion in new spending, which will fund measures like expanding broadband access, addressing water shortages in the West U.S., improving public transit and more than a dozen other infrastructure projects, according to a fact sheet provided by the White House.

The deal also proposes several means of gathering funds to pay for itself, including a sale of the U.S. strategic petroleum reserve and the redirection of unused emergency relief funds from 2020. The bill also relies on the expected positive economic impact of upgraded infrastructure as a cost offset.

Senators at the meeting echoed Biden’s words during a joint press gaggle outside the West Wing.

“Today, we are announcing the framework for an historic investment in infrastructure,” Republican Ohio Sen. Rob Portman told reporters. “I’m pleased to see today that we’re able to come together on a core infrastructure package. This is not non-infrastructure items without new taxes…This was a team effort.”

“No one got everything they wanted in this package,” Democratic Arizona Sen. Kyrsten Sinema said. “We all gave some to get some…We are delighted to go back to the Hill and begin earning more support from both Republicans and Democrats to get this bill across the finish line.”

Specifics of the agreement are still forthcoming, but it is significantly smaller than Biden’s initial $2.3 trillion plan 

Biden and Republicans have repeatedly gone back and forth on potential infrastructure deals, with talks stalling out a number of times. The Thursday deal may not be the end of the road, however, as some Democratic senators have expressed disappointment with Manchin’s deal with Republicans. The 10 Republicans he picked up with the plan may be counter acted by Democrats who drop their support for the bill. Many senators on both sides of the aisle have yet to see the specifics of the deal.

Manchin flexes muscle in 50-50 Senate


Reported by ALEXANDER BOLTON | The Hill |  February 24, 2021

Read more at https://1776coalition.com/rise-up-1/manchin-flexes-muscle-in-50-50-senate/

Centrist Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) is the most pivotal vote in the evenly divided Senate, and his power could spark prolonged intraparty feuds among Democrats. Concerned about simmering friction, Senate Majority Leader Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.) on Tuesday strongly urged his Democratic caucus to unify around a pending $1.9 trillion COVID-19 relief package.

Manchin appears to have derailed President Biden’s nominee to head the White House budget office, Neera Tanden, by announcing last week that he would vote against her because of sharp criticisms she leveled on Twitter against Senate colleagues. In a 50-50 Senate, Tanden now needs the backing of at least one Republican, and perhaps more, which appears unlikely.

Manchin has jeopardized Biden’s plan to raise the federal minimum wage to $15 an hour by announcing this month he opposes such an increase. He suggested instead setting it at $11 an hour and indexing it to inflation.

Asked about Manchin’s impact on the Democratic agenda, Schumer told reporters Tuesday that he called on his colleagues to work together.

I made a pitch today to our entire caucus and I said that we need to pass this bill. The American people, the American public demands it,” Schumer said after holding a call with Democratic senators.

Schumer said that not every Democratic senator is going to be entirely pleased with the COVID-19 relief bill but warned the party must pass it. In all likelihood, every Democrat in the upper chamber will have to back the measure in order to get it to the president’s desk.

“Job No. 1 is to pass the bill. Pass the bill we must. And I have confidence we will do it,” Schumer added.

Manchin on Monday said he would attempt to amend Biden’s $1.9 trillion relief proposal, which the House is scheduled to pass this week, to set the federal minimum wage at $11 an hour.

“Eleven dollars is the right place to be,” he said. “I’d amend it to $11.” He also added that his plan is to index the wage floor to inflation.

The Senate parliamentarian is also expected to rule soon on whether Democrats can include minimum wage in their budget reconciliation bill. Biden has indicated he doubts she will allow it, but progressives disagree. Passing Biden’s pending $1.9 trillion relief package, however, is only the start of the challenges facing Schumer, Manchin and the rest of the Democratic caucus.

“I talked to Harry Reid about him and he said [Manchin] was always a pain in the neck,” said Ross K. Baker, a professor of political science at Rutgers University who served as a fellow in the office of former Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.).

“[Manchin is] in an awkward position. He’s a Democrat from a state that backed Trump more heavily than any other state,” Baker added, noting that former President Trump carried West Virginia with 68 percent in 2016 and 69 percent in 2020. In 2020, Trump gained a larger percentage of the vote only in Wyoming — 70 percent.

The 73-year-old senator is not up for reelection until 2024. He won his last election contest by 3 points, a race he later said “took a toll” on him. Manchin’s support is far from certain if Democrats try to pass Biden’s “Build Back Better” jobs and economic recovery plan.

Senate Budget Committee Chairman Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), who is pushing hard for a $15 an hour wage bill, said discussions are already underway about using special budgetary rules to pass a massive economic stimulus package with a simple majority vote after the $1.9 trillion “American Rescue Plan” becomes law.

Manchin said Tuesday that Democratic leaders should move an infrastructure and jobs bill, which may cost as much as $3 trillion, through regular order, which means working with Republicans instead of using another budget reconciliation package to bypass GOP colleagues.

“I want to make sure we go back to some regular order. It should go through the committee[s]. These are big things that need to be done, they are policy changes, and I would like to use the committee process and if anyone understands that better than Joe Biden, I don’t know who that would be,” he said. “We’ve got to get back to regular order.”

Asked if he had reservations about using special budget rules to pass a second package, he said: “Regular order. Let’s try. Let’s try and see if the place will work first.”

Manchin, who chairs the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee, also raised doubt this week about another one of Biden’s nominees, Rep. Deb Haaland (D-N.M.). His spokeswoman said the senator is undecided on Haaland, who would be the first Native American to head the Interior Department or serve in the Cabinet. That prompted a stern rebuke from liberal Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.), who juxtaposed Manchin’s indecision over Haaland to his support for Trump’s nomination of Jeff Sessions in 2017 to head the Department of Justice.

“Manchin voted to confirm him. Sessions then targeted immigrant children for wide-scale human rights abuses w/ family separation. Yet the 1st Native woman to be Cabinet Sec is where Manchin finds unease?” Ocasio-Cortez tweeted.

Manchin’s role as the 50th and toughest-to-nail-down vote in the Democratic caucus has boosted his profile. Pundits have touted him as a new Senate powerbroker and the most powerful member of the evenly divided upper chamber.

WDTV in Bridgeport, W.Va., labeled Manchin last month the “most powerful senator,” while Joshua Green of Bloomberg Businessweek hailed him as a “kingmaker” and The Washington Post wrote he is “the key to Biden’s ambitious climate agenda.”

Manchin kept a relatively low profile during the first few weeks of the new Senate Democratic majority, sticking with his leadership on key votes on the budget resolution, Biden’s top Cabinet picks and Trump’s second impeachment trial. But he is beginning to assert himself more forcefully as it becomes clear that Republican support will be difficult to muster on certain issues.

The West Virginia senator on Tuesday downplayed talk about him becoming a kingmaker or powerbroker.

“No, there’s nothing about powerbroker. I denounce that completely,” he said.

“I’ll tell you about power. I’ve seen people that have it, abuse it. I’ve seen people that sought it ruin themselves,” he said.

But he also said he’s “seen people that took a moment of time and tried to make a change and a difference,” adding that he hopes to be a lawmaker who works across party lines to make a difference.

Manchin joked the key facts to know about him are “I have three children and 10 grandchildren.”

Democratic Sen. Joe Manchin Voted Against Biden’s Surgeon General Pick When Obama Was President


Reported HENRY RODGERS, SENIOR CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT | December 07, 20205:28 PM ET

Read more at https://dailycaller.com/2020/12/07/joe-manchin-voted-against-biden-surgeon-general-pick-obama-vivek-murthy/

Democratic West Virginia Sen. Joe Manchin previously opposed President-elect Joe Biden’s choice for surgeon general under former President Barack Obama. Biden has selected Dr. Vivek Murthy to serve as surgeon general under his administration, but Murthy will first have to get through a Senate confirmation vote, where Republicans currently hold a majority. Fox News first reported that Manchin was against Murthy’s confirmation in 2014, saying his politics could interfere with his job.

“After meeting with Dr. Murthy, I don’t question his medical qualifications; I just question whether the public will believe that he can separate his political beliefs from his public health views,” Manchin wrote in a December 2014 letter. “I am wary that his past comments and political involvement will have an impact on his leadership capabilities and effectiveness.”

Manchin’s office referred the Daily Caller to a Nov. 24 statement on Biden’s cabinet picks after being asked whether he would vote against Murthy again. The statement did not rule out voting against Murthy, or any other cabinet picks.

Murthy was confirmed 51 to 43 and served as surgeon general from 2014 through 2017. Former Democratic North Dakota Sen. Heidi Heitkamp and former Democratic Indiana Sen. Joe Donnelly also voted against Murthy. (RELATED: ‘I Never Met Her’: Joe Manchin Slams Ocasio-Cortez After She Took A Jab At Him On Twitter)

The two Senate runoffs in Georgia could make the confirmation process for many of Biden’s nominees much easier, as Democrats have a chance of being in control of all three branches of government.

Senate confirms Gorsuch to Supreme Court, giving Trump big win


The Senate on Friday confirmed Neil Gorsuch to the Supreme Court, giving President Trump the biggest victory of his first 100 days in office. The 54-45 vote caps a bitter political battle that began with the death of Justice Antonin Scalia more than a year ago and resulted in the Senate triggering the “nuclear option,” breaking Democrats’ blockade and ending filibusters for Supreme Court nominees.

Three Democrats facing reelection next year in strongly pro-Trump states voted for Gorsuch: Sens. Joe Manchin (W.Va.), Heidi Heitkamp (N.D.), and Joe Donnelly (Ind.).

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But two Democrats facing reelection in 2018 in states Trump won by double digits — Sens. Claire McCaskill (Mo.) and Jon Tester (Mont.) — voted no, a reflection of Trump’s slumping approval rating among independents and the boiling rage of the Democratic base over his 2016 electoral victory.

Gorsuch will be sworn in as the Supreme Court’s 101st associate justice on Monday. 

Chief Justice John Roberts is set to administer the Constitutional Oath in a private ceremony at 9 a.m., and Justice Anthony Kennedy will administer the oath at a public ceremony at the White House later in the morning.

Senate Democratic Leader Charles Schumer (N.Y.) said the fight will leave a scorch mark on the Senate because Republicans employed the nuclear option.

“It will make this body a more partisan place. It will make the cooling saucer of the Senate considerably hotter, and I believe it will make the Supreme Court more of a partisan place,” Schumer said on the Senate floor Friday.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.), however, argued that the change to the filibuster, which Republicans made with a party-line vote Thursday, would restore the Senate to its tradition of not filibustering judicial nominees.

He praised Gorsuch’s credentials Friday as “sterling,” his record as “excellent” and his judicial temperament as “ideal.” He said he wished “that important aspects of this process had played out differently” but held out hope that “today is a new day” and that Democrats would not hold a grudge as the chamber considers other priorities this year.

“I hope my Democratic friends will take this moment to reflect and perhaps consider a turning point in their outlook going forward,” he said.

Some Democrats questioned whether it was worth getting into a showdown with McConnell over Gorsuch and losing their power to filibuster future Supreme Court nominees. These few dissenters thought it might be tougher for Republicans to change the rules if a swing seat on the court became open later on in Trump’s term, when he might have less political capital.  Democratic leaders, however, disagreed, arguing that McConnell would be just as likely like to change the rules in the future.

Democrats tried to block Gorsuch because they said his rulings tended to favor powerful interests over average people and also because they were still furious over Republicans’ treatment of Merrick Garland, whom President Obama nominated a year ago to fill the vacancy left by Scalia.

McConnell announced immediately after Scalia’s death that Garland would not receive consideration by the GOP-controlled Senate and that the winner of the presidential election should pick the nominee. Democrats argued that decision broke 230 years of precedent and would best be remedied by Gorsuch withdrawing and Trump picking a “more mainstream candidate.”

That proposal went nowhere as Republicans argued that Trump made clear during last year’s campaign that he would pick a judge from a list of 21 conservatives, on which Gorsuch was included.

A CNN exit poll showed that 56 percent of Trump voters said the Supreme Court was “the important factor” in their votes, and 46 percent said it was “an important factor.”

Gorsuch isn’t likely to change the most recent ideological balance of the court as he replaces one of its most outspoken and conservative jurists. He called Scalia a “mentor” at his confirmation hearings and, like his predecessor did, takes an “originalist” approach to the law meant to hew to the intentions of the Founding Fathers and follow legal language strictly. That approach became a sticking point for Democrats, who criticized him for relying on what they called overly literal readings of the law to decide in favor of those in power, such as a trucking company in TransAm Trucking v. Administrative Review Board that fired a driver who refused to stay for hours with a disabled vehicle in freezing weather.

Republicans countered by touting Gorsuch’s academic and professional credentials; his clerkships with two Supreme Court justices, Anthony Kennedy and Byron White; his unanimous rating of well-qualified by the American Bar Association; and his record of deciding with the majority in 99 percent of the cases he heard.

Gorsuch appeared poised to sail through the Senate as Democrats earlier this year were more focused on Trump’s more controversial Cabinet appointees, such as Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos and Attorney General Jeff Sessions. Democrats had failed to dig up any seriously damaging writings, statements or indiscretions, and even Ruth Bader Ginsburg, the most liberal justice on the high court, said Gorsuch was “very easy to get along with.”

The lack of strong early resistance angered liberal groups, including NARAL Pro-Choice America, MoveOn.Org and the Services Employee International Union, which wrote a stern letter to Democratic senators early last month exhorting them to “do better.” The Judicial Crisis Network, a conservative group backing Gorsuch, countered pressure from the left by launching a $10 million advertising campaign to bolster his nomination. The National Rifle Association also poured in $1 million to help Gorsuch.

It became apparent Monday,  when several Democrats who were on the fence came out against his nomination, that Gorsuch would not win confirmation unless Republicans moved to eliminate the filibuster. By Monday evening, 42 Democrats and one Independent, Sen. Bernie Sanders (Vt.), had announced they would block the final vote. McConnell announced the next day that he had the votes to trigger the nuclear option. 

Vice President Pence presided over the vote. Sen. Johnny Isakson (R-Ga.), who recently underwent back surgery, missed it.

– Updated at 12:47 p.m.

Senate goes ‘nuclear’ to advance Trump Supreme Court pick


The Senate voted Thursday to move forward with Neil Gorsuch’s Supreme Court nomination after Republicans took a historic step that lowers the vote threshold for high court nominees to a simple majority.  Senators voted 55-45 to end debate on Gorsuch’s nomination, setting up a final confirmation vote for Friday. Thanks to a procedural move that changed Senate rules earlier Thursday, a simple majority was needed to move forward.

Democrats had successfully blocked Gorsuch’s nomination from getting 60 votes earlier, prompting Republicans to employ the “nuclear option,” which effectively ends filibusters for all Supreme Court nominees. Democrats tried to delay the rule change vote by offering motions to postpone a vote and to adjourn the chamber, but both fell short as Republicans stayed unified.

Democratic Sens. Joe Manchin (W.Va.), Heidi Heitkamp (N.D.) and Joe Donnelly (Ind.) voted with Republicans to allow President Trump’s pick to move forward.

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Republicans defended the party-line vote on the nuclear option, saying Democrats were to blame for blocking Gorsuch, who they believe is eminently qualified to sit on the Supreme Court.Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) argued that Democrats should “come to their senses.” 

“The truth of the matter is that throughout this process, the minority led by their leader has been desperately searching for a justification for their preplanned filibuster,” he said ahead of Thursday’s votes.

Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) added that the current stalemate was part of a decades-long Democratic effort to “politicize the courts and the confirmation process.” 

“The opposition to this particular nominee is more about the man that nominated him and the party he represents than the nominee himself,” he said. 

Republicans hinted for weeks that Trump’s nominee would be confirmed one way or another. McConnell confirmed during a leadership press conference that he had the votes to go nuclear if needed. Republicans appeared resigned to the tactics, arguing if Democrats won’t support Gorsuch — who received the American Bar Association’s highest rating — they won’t allow any GOP nominee to join the Supreme Court.

But Democrats made a last-minute pledge for Republicans to back down and change the nominee, an argument that never gained traction with GOP senators.

“It doesn’t have to be this way,” Senate Minority Leader Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.) said. “When a nominee doesn’t get enough votes for confirmation the answer is not to change the rules, it’s to change the nominee.”

Sen. Jeff Merkley (D-Ore.) during an eleventh-hour press conference blasted the GOP tactics, saying it “is just wrong to pack the court through this stolen seat.” 

“That’s why it’s so important that we still in the few hours that we have left hopefully stop this really crime against the Constitution,” he said. 

Progressives groups also stepped up their attacks heading into Thursday’s vote, warning that Republicans will be to blame for going “nuclear.”  The People’s Defense — a coalition of roughly a dozen progressive groups led by NARAL Pro-Choice America — released a digital ad campaign targeting Republicans in Arizona, Alaska, Maine, Nevada and South Carolina, warning them that “history is watching.”

Sens. Jeff Flake (Ariz.) and Dean Heller (Nev.), among those being targeted by outside groups, are Republicans’ two most vulnerable incumbents. Schumer echoed that from the Senate floor on Thursday, saying that Republicans “had other choices. They’ve chosen this one.” 

“The responsibility for changing the rules will fall on Republicans and Leader McConnell’s shoulders,” he said. 

Democrats remain deeply bitter of Republicans treatment of Merrick Garland, whom former President Barack Obama’s nominated to fill the vacancy created by Justice Antonin Scalia’s death in February 2016. GOP leaders refused to give Garland a hearing or a vote. Sen. Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) argued that the current stalemate over the Supreme Court dates back Scalia’s death and “what we’re facing today is the fallout.” 

But the hardball tactics drew skepticism from both Republican and Democratic senators, who held around-the-clock negotiations to try to prevent the rule change but ultimately failed.

Told that by a reporter that some people think the Senate will function better without the filibuster, Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) fired back: “Whoever said that is a stupid idiot.” 

Sen. Michael Bennet (D-Colo.) also warned that without the need for 60 votes to break a filibuster, Trump might easily appoint Attorney General Jeff Sessions or EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt to the Supreme Court in the future.

“Partisanship should give way to patriotism,” said Bennet, who backed ending debate on Gorsuch’s nomination earlier Thursday but voted against it in the second vote. “If we go down this road we will undermine the minorities ability to check this administration and all those who follow.”

Senate confirms Carson to lead HUD


waving flag disclaimerAuthored

The Senate on Thursday confirmed Ben Carson to be President Trump’s secretary of Housing and Urban Development (HUD). The final vote was 58-41. Carson needed a simple majority to be approved.

Democratic Sens. Joe Manchin (W.Va.), Mark Warner (Va.), Heidi Heitkamp (N.D.), Sherrod Brown (Ohio), Jon Tester (Mont.), Joe Donnelly (Ind.) and Independent Sen. Angus King (Maine) joined all Republicans in backing Carson. Sen. Johnny Isakson (R-Ga.) did not vote.
The former neurosurgeon wasn’t a top target for Senate Democrats. But Carson’s nomination and lack of government experience has divided the caucus.
Top Democrats — including Senate Minority Leader Charles Schumer (N.Y.) and Sen. Dick Durbin (Ill.) — voted against Carson’s nomination earlier this week.

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But red-state Democrats, including Manchin, Donnelly and Heitkamp, voted with Republicans to support him.

Republicans have rallied around Carson’s nomination. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) predicted ahead of the vote that he would be confirmed with bipartisan support. “[He] can begin bringing much needed reforms to the Department of Housing and Urban Development,” he said from the Senate floor.
Sen. Mike Crapo (R-Idaho) also urged his colleagues to support Carson. “Once Dr. Carson is confirmed we can begin working on several important issues under HUD’s jurisdiction,” he said.
Carson easily cleared the Senate Banking Committee in late January, picking up the support of liberal senators elizabeth-lieawatha-warrenincluding Brown and Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.). Warren defended her committee vote amid backlash from progressive outside groups, writing on a Facebook post: “Yes, he is not the nominee I wanted. But ‘the nominee I wanted’ is not the test.” Warren didn’t vote for Carson during the Senate’s procedural vote on Wednesday, and she voted against him again Thursday.
Carson’s nomination has been largely free of controversy. Senators only questioned Carson for 2 1/2 hours during his confirmation hearing, in contrast to more controversial picks — including Attorney General Jeff Sessions — who faced hours of intense grilling. Democrats have voiced public skepticism about Carson’s qualifications, noting that the onetime presidential candidate also previously questioned whether he was fit to run a federal agency.
“Having me as a federal bureaucrat would be like a fish out of water,” he said in November, on the heels of rumors that he would be considered for Trump’s Cabinet.
Carson, a conservative Christian, also received some criticism for suggesting that LGBT Americans don’t deserve “extra rights.” picture2
But neither impeded his nomination. Crapo thanked Brown from the Senate floor for being willing to work with him to get Carson to the Senate floor for a vote.  It is unclear how Carson will shape the agency. He told lawmakers in his confirmation hearing that he wants to have “listening sessions” with housing officials around the country. He was also noncommittal about upholding an Obama-era rule that beefed up a fair housing law.

Senate confirms Perry for Energy secretary


waving flag disclaimerAuthored

Senate confirms Perry for Energy secretary / © Getty Images

The Senate on Thursday confirmed Rick Perry to lead the Energy Department — an agency he once pledged to eliminate. Perry, the former Texas governor and a two-time Republican presidential candidate, was confirmed on a 62-37 vote.

The Senate confirmed Perry after only a few hours of debate on Thursday afternoon, moving unexpectedly quickly on the final cabinet-level member of President Trump’s energy and environment team.
During a Republican primary debate in 2011, Perry listed the three federal agencies he would abolish as president but famously forgot the Energy Department, quipping, “oops.” But after Trump nominated him to lead the department in December, Perry said he had reconsidered the importance of the agency, which supports energy research and oversees the nation’s nuclear arsenal.

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“My past statements made over five years ago about abolishing the Department of Energy do not reflect my current thinking,” Perry said at his January confirmation hearing.
“In fact, after being briefed on so many of the vital functions of the Department of Energy, I regret recommending its elimination.”
Republicans supported Perry’s nomination, applauding his support of the Texas energy sector during his time as governor and saying his experience in Austin means he can effectively lead a $30 billion, 14,400-person department.
“He will hold his employees and contractors accountable. We know that he will be a responsible steward of taxpayer dollars,” Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska) said during floor debate on Thursday.
“I think that he will work to continue to break down the research silos that have really frustrated the department and work to find ways that there can be greater collaboration — greater working together — and I’m also confident that he will pursue policies that will ultimately provide us with more stable sources of energy.”
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Democrats said they are concerned about Perry’s views on climate change and his support for climate research in the department. The Trump administration has previously hinted at potential deep cuts for the Energy Department, something Democrats contend Perry will struggle to resist.
“I take Gov. Perry at this word that he has been briefed on all the functions of the Department of Energy and that he does not believe it should be abolished, as he once articulated,” Sen. Maria Cantwell (D-Wash.) said.
“But, as I said, his testimony leaves a lot to question about whether he will fight for these essential programs in a Trump administration who have already tried to target these agencies and programs to be defunded.”
The Senate confirmed Perry after only about three hours of debate on Thursday, moving his nomination quicker than any other energy or environment official in Trump’s cabinet.
Senators confirmed Ryan Zinke to lead the Interior Department on Wednesday. Scott Pruitt became administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency in February.
Democratic Sens. Mark Warner (Va.), Joe Manchin (W.Va.), Heidi Heitkamp (N.D.), Tom Udall (N.M.), Catherine Cortez Masto (Nev.), Debbie Stabenow (Mich.), Claire McCaskill (Mo.), Jon Tester (Mont.), Tom Carper (Del.) and Joe Donnelly (Ind.), and Independent Sen. Angus King (Maine), voted with all present Republicans to back Perry.
GOP Sen. Johnny Isakson (Ga.) was not present.

McConnell: If GOP unites, we will win


waving flagAuthored

McConnell: If GOP unites, we will win / © Greg Nash

Sen. Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) has a clear and simple message for his party: Success depends on unity.

In an interview with The Hill, the Senate majority leader said he has told his GOP colleagues not to expect any help from Democrats on an array of legislative priorities.

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In contrast to past years, when McConnell had to face down rebellions from conservative colleagues — most notably Texas Sen. Ted Cruz (R) — the entire Senate GOP conference appears to be on the same page. How long that lasts remains uncertain, however.

“The only way you can achieve success in an environment like now, where there’s not much bipartisanship, is for us to have our act together and to work out our differences among ourselves,” McConnell said Friday.amen

During former President Obama’s administration, McConnell said he had to contend with “individuals” in the Senate and House who “just really enjoy the publicity associated with doing something the vast majority of Republicans didn’t agree with, and it was a great headline producer.”no-more-rinos-2

After a highly unusual and charged election year, McConnell is looking forward to making new laws in 2017. Against the odds, McConnell preserved his GOP majority in November and now has a willing partner in the White House. The relationship between President Trump and McConnell was tenuous at best throughout 2016. But times have changed. McConnell, who refused to answer questions about Trump in the fall, last week compared him to President Andrew Jackson, the nation’s first populist commander in chief.

Ten Senate Democrats are running for reelection in 2018 in states that Trump won last year. McConnell is expecting that Senate Minority Leader Charles Schumer(D-N.Y.) will pull out all the stops to keep them from defecting on big votes.

“We’re not anticipating much Democratic cooperation here,” he said with a laugh.

He says most Democrats are “not interested” in working with the GOP on legislation to repeal and replace parts of ObamaCare and to overhaul the tax code. As a result, Republicans are looking to pass those bills on party-line votes under a special budgetary process that protects them from filibusters. 

“When you’re taking that path, you better have your people all lined up, because if you can’t get your own guys together, particularly in the Senate, you can’t get where you want to go,” he said.

Republicans have control of the White House and both chambers of Congress for the first time in a decade, and they know they have a limited amount of time to enact major legislative initiatives such as comprehensive tax reform, which was last accomplished in 1986. At that time, Democrats and Republicans worked together to revamp the tax code. McConnell, who was a backbencher back then, said such a bipartisan endeavor is just not possible now — it’s “a different era.”

Despite the high stakes and the pressure, McConnell seemed comfortable and at ease throughout The Hill’s interview. He stayed on message and calmly dodged questions about policies Republicans have not yet decided on.

McConnell in 2015 became majority leader, his dream job ever since he worked as a junior aide to late Sen. Marlow Cook (R-Ky.).

The Senate electoral map looks quite good for Republicans, who have only eight seats up for reelection in 2018, while Democrats will have to defend 25.

But McConnell, 74, says anything can happen, chuckling over the brimming confidence of Democratic colleagues last year who thought they were a lock to win back the upper chamber. Before the election, media outlets were publishing profiles of Schumer, assuming he would be the next Senate majority leader.

“I sat here and observed on a daily basis my soon-to-be counterpart, Sen. Schumer, giving interviews on his agenda, measuring the curtains,” he recalled with a wry smile.

McConnell, who has a reputation as one of the shrewdest tacticians on Capitol Hill but sometimes draws criticism even from GOP colleagues for being too focused on politics, says he’s now entirely focused on governing.

“Rather than becoming consumed about what might happen in 2018, we need to try to succeed,” he said.

McConnell, an institutionalist who reveres the Senate, said Republicans don’t work for Trump. He pointedly noted that the Senate decides its own rules when asked about pressure from the White House to strip senators of the power to filibuster Supreme Court nominees.

Over the years, conservative groups have taken shots at McConnell on a variety of issues. But they have no complaints about his decision to not vote on Merrick Garland, Obama’s 2016 Supreme Court nominee. Now, late Justice Antonin Scalia’s seat will be filled with a conservative. Trump is scheduled to announce his pick on Tuesday (UPDATE: Tonight).

Trump and McConnell are both dealmakers, but they don’t see eye-to-eye on trade, Russian sanctions and other matters. What’s more important than their differences, McConnell said, is their shared desire to cut tax rates, simplify the tax code and reverse what he calls the “rampage” of overregulation under Obama. He says regulatory excess is the chief culprit responsible for the nation’s tepid economic recovery and scoffs at the Democratic narrative that frames Obama as a savior who turned around a national economy severely damaged by former President George W. Bush’s mismanagement.

“Obama didn’t have a single year of 3 percent growth, and the statute of limitations on blaming Bush ran out a long time ago,” he said.

Unlike Trump, McConnell rarely talks publicly about the stock market. But it has gone up because of Trump’s victory, McConnell said.

“Everybody I know who watches the market thinks the reason it has been booming is the expectation of regulatory relief and tax reform,” he said.

As partisan as the atmosphere is in Washington, McConnell knows that he’ll still need centrist Democrats to join him for the 115th Congress to be a success. He says that Republicans cannot entirely replace ObamaCare under reconciliation — the special budget process that empowers the majority party to enact legislation with only 51 votes. Some healthcare reforms, such as allowing companies to sell insurance across state lines or other policy changes that have a negligible budgetary impact must be adopted with 60 votes. That means winning over centrists such as Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) and Heidi Heitkamp (D-N.D.), who are up for reelection next year.

“[Red-state Democrats] will be necessary,” he concedes.

After spending the past two years playing defense, when Republicans had to defend 24 Senate seats in the 2016 election cycle, McConnell — an avid sports fan — is eager to play offense.

“I’m assuming that each of them will be calculating whether it’s to their advantage to be cooperative or not,” he said of the 10 Democrats up for reelection in pro-Trump states.

“I’m hoping that frequently they will conclude that it’s actually good for them to be helpful to us,” he said.

Who Loses Under EPA’s Clean Power Plan?


waving flagPosted by Photo of Michael Bastasch Michael Bastasch;  08/04/2015

The Obama administration unveiled the linchpin of its global warming agenda Monday: a 1560-page regulation called the “Clean Power Plan.” The goal of the Clean Power Plan is to reduce carbon dioxide emissions from power plants 32 percent below 2005 levels by the year 2030. The EPA claims the plan will benefit the economy and the environment by reducing asthma attacks, creating jobs in the green energy sector and showing the world the U.S. is committed to fighting global warming. All of this ahead of a major United Nations climate summit this winter.EPA Monster

Put simply, the new agenda is a massive undertaking, and one that’s already facing legal challenges from a coalition of states and the coal industry. There are going to be clear winners and losers with this rule. Red states, fossil fuel companies and even blue dog Democrats stand to lose out — not to mention all the families who will be hit with higher energy bills.

Is EPA Punishing Red States?

The EPA’s cuts to CO2 emissions could cost states billions of dollars in the coming decades. States are forced to find ways to cut emissions based on certain building blocks set forth by EPA. But this could be costly for energy-intensive states, like North Dakota, with grids and economies that rely on lots of coal power, and oil and natural gas production.

There’s another interesting dynamic underlying the EPA’s rules. The Daily Caller News Foundation examined the data and found that red states were among those hit with the biggest, and likely costliest, emissions reduction mandates.

Of the ten states with the biggest CO2 reduction mandates, eight are dominated by Republicans and only two are Democratic. On the flip side, the states with the lowest CO2 reduction mandates are overwhelmingly liberal — six are Democrat and only four are Republican.

TheDCNF looked at which party controlled each chamber of the state legislature and the governorship to determine control. For example, Republicans control both chambers of the South Dakota legislature and there’s a Republican governor. We considered that state Republican. On the other hand, Montana has a Democratic governor but a Republican-controlled legislature. We’d also consider that state Republican since two of the three groups looked at were GOP-controlled.

Republican states were among those that saw the highest increases in their CO2 mandates from the EPA’s proposal to the final rule, according to Politico Pro. Some 16 states had their emissions targets increased by the EPA, but the agency also loosened targets for 31 states.

Politico reported that while North Dakota “enjoyed the lowest emission reduction goal in the proposed rule,” the state “saw that goal more than quadruple in the final rule to 44.9 percent.”

“Other states saw significant increases in their goals as well. Montana’s goal increased by 26.3 percentage points to 47.4 percent. Iowa’s went up 25.4 points, to a 41.5 percent reduction. And Wyoming’s goal went up 25.3 points to a 44.3 percent reduction,” according to Politico.

“On the other hand, 24 states saw their goals reduced. Washington’s declined the most, down 34.6 percentage points to 37.2 percent,” Politico reported. “Oregon dropped 28.1 points to 20 percent, and New York went down 24.7 points to 19.5 percent.”

Before drawing too many conclusions, it’s worth noting that red states are likely being hurt the most because they rely more heavily on coal for their energy needs. These states also tend to be major energy producing states, like North Dakota, Wyoming and West Virginia.

States that rely too much on coal will have the toughest time complying with the Clean Power Plan because burning coal emits much more CO2 than burning natural gas. The EPA says it bases its reduction targets on what’s “achievable.” The agency sees coal-reliant states as having much more work to do when it comes to reducing emissions than states relying more on natural gas and green energy, as many Democrat-controlled states do.

The fact is that far more states saw their emissions targets reduced from the EPA’s proposal last year. Even so, states are still going to have a tough time complying with their targets no matter what since the Clean Power Plan essentially forces them to restructure their electricity markets and regulations.

Is This An Attack On Fracking?

The Clean Power Plan has also been seen as an attack on natural gas-fired power, which has been made economical due to hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, of shale. The oil and gas industry is worried the EPA’s rule ignores the role natural gas can play in reducing carbon dioxide emissions — when burned for electricity, natural gas emits less CO2 than coal. The Financial Times reported that the “US shale gas is the unexpected loser from President Barack Obama’s climate plan, as the White House abandons its previous enthusiasm for natural gas as a cleaner alternative to coal.”Indenification of Obama

In recent years, the U.S. has become the world’s largest producer of natural gas thanks to hydraulic fracturing, which involves injecting water, sand and some chemicals deep underground to unlock hydrocarbons trapped in shale formations. But industry leaders fear EPA could harm the industry. “With the reported shift in the plan, we believe the White House is perpetuating the false choice between renewables and gas,” Martin Durbin, president of America’s Natural Gas Alliance, told Oil and Gas Journal. “We don’t have to slow the trend toward gas in order to effectively and economically use renewables.”EPA-Chopper-590AEA

Reports have come out, mainly with support from environmentalists and green energy backers, declaring the Clean Power Plan downplays natural gas’ role in reducing U.S. emissions. Instead, reports indicate the EPA is focusing on boosting green energy instead of gas. “With or without new regulations, gas will continue to grow as a critical source of clean energy, but EPA’s rule does more harm than good,” Howard Feldman with the American Petroleum Institute told OGJ.

Major natural gas producing states have also been hit with steep emissions targets mandated by the EPA. Texas, the country’s largest oil and gas producer, must reduce power plant emissions 33.5 percent below 2012 levels by 2030. The state gets twice as much energy from natural gas as it does from coal.

Democratic-led Pennsylvania is also being hit with tough emissions reductions mandates from EPA. The state must reduce emissions 34.9 percent by 2030. Pennsylvania is now the country’s second-largest natural gas producer thanks to fracking in the Marcellus Shale. The state even gets 37 percent of its electricity from nuclear, while coal and natural gas each provide slightly less. EPA-torture-600-AEA-378x257

Blue Dog Dems Backstabbed By Obama

What’s probably most interesting about energy states being hit hard by the Clean Power Plan, is that many of them also sport Democratic lawmakers who are now put in a tough position.

North Dakota Sen. Heidi Heitkamp called the rule a “slap in the face,” according to Politico Pro. West Virginia Sen. Joe Manchin criticized the rule for being “utterly unrealistic.” Both of these lawmakers opposed the rule since its proposal, but now their states are some of the hardest hit.

North Dakota and West Virginia were initially given some of the smallest state emissions reductions targets by the EPA. In June 2014, the EPA said North Dakota would only have to reduce emissions 10.6 percent and West Virginia 19.8 percent by 2030. Now these states have to make much deeper cuts than the EPA initially told them. “Our President and his Administration think our country can do without coal, and they are dead wrong. They are in denial,” Manchin said in a statement condemning the rule.

Montana Democrats, who originally supported the rule, are now reeling after the EPA announced the state would have to reduce emissions even more than was initially proposed by the agency last year. Montana now has one of the highest CO2 emissions reduction mandates of any state. Montana’s Democratic Gov. Steve Bullock complained that the EPA “moved the goal post on us,” saying that while “we need to address climate change” but added that “how we do so has to work for Montana.” The Montana’s AFL-CIO branch actually planned a press call in support of the rule, according to the Bozeman Daily Chronicle, but it was cancelled after the union found out the EPA had increased the “reduction requirement.” The group called it a “gut punch.”

Even Democratic Sen. Jon Tester was cautious in his statement on the Clean Power Plan’s release, not condemning it but also not celebrating it being finalized. Tester told the Chronicle he needed “more time to review it to ensure it works for Montana and creates healthier communities and a stronger economy.”
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