Surprise, surprise: Democratic Senator Joe Manchin has thrown cold water on another aspect of his party’s approach to climate policy. While the Biden administration has proposed expanding the popular electric vehicle tax credit, Manchin called the idea “ridiculous” during a Senate budget hearing on Thursday.
Manchin’s colleagues are seeking to resurrect some provisions of the catatonic if not entirely dead Build Back Better bill, including one to increase the existing $7,500 credit for electric vehicle purchases to $12,500. But Manchin, who also killed the $1.75 trillion Build Back Better plan, doesn’t have it.
Manchin cited both existing waiting lists for electric vehicles — especially in light of tangled supply chains for vehicles — and high fuel prices as justification for his resistance. He suggested that lawmakers instead devote more funds to the development of hydrogen resources to decarbonize the transport sector (a complicated and potentially cumbersome proposition). In February, Manchin joined three Republicans to launch a task force to develop a hydrogen hub in West Virginia, which would enable the continued use of fossil fuels and be a major win for producers. of natural gas and coal from Manchin State. The proposal has already passed the House, but it will likely be necessary to get Manchin on board for it to pass the Senate as well. Manchin has thrown a wrench into Democratic policy plans in the past, including the $1.75 trillion Build Back Better spending plan, which included climate provisions that would have impacted clean energy deployment and the carbon removal research.
Manchin, who appears not to care at all about supporting Democratic climate policies, recently convened a bipartisan meeting of senators to discuss energy security and climate change and assess where there may be room for consensus. The senator told POLITICO that the group’s first meeting went well, but they are “just getting started.” But the perception that Manchin is dragging his feet has caused frustration among Democrats, who are skeptical that an energy tax package could win the support of 10 Republicans, and who have one eye on the clock. as the mid-terms are fast approaching.
“This is our last and best chance to act, and whether we do it or not is entirely up to Manchin,” a senior Democratic official told CNN.