Manchin insists he’s not walking away from Democrat-only talks as colleagues fume
« I haven’t walked away from anything. And inflation is my biggest concern because of how it’s affected my state and the whole country, and that’s all I have to say,” Manchin told reporters. « I don’t know what tomorrow will bring. »
In the coming weeks, Senate Democrats plan to pass legislation to lower the price of prescription drugs and lower the cost of health care premiums without a GOP vote, using the government’s obstructionist protections. budget. While those items are both top priorities for the party, that didn’t stop Democrats from chastising Manchin on Friday for his efforts to further delay climate and tax negotiations — Sen. Martin Heinrich (DN.M. ) even questioned why the State Coal Democrat continued to hold the Energy Committee gavel.
The object of all this criticism seemed unfazed on Monday. Asked about the suggestion of losing his presidency, Manchin replied, “I understand that there is a person and I understand his frustration and concern. It is a democracy. I come from another state, but also the energy is something that we must have. And we can walk and chew gum. We can find a way forward.
Earlier, Manchin convened talks on a possible bipartisan energy proposal that fell through as his talks with Schumer on a Democrat-only bill heated up. As part of any deal, Manchin wants federal permitting policy changes that would increase national energy production.
After returning from a week of working from home due to Covid, Schumer did not address the standoff with the more conservative member of his caucus.
Even as the party moves forward with the Manchin-approved deal, there are signs that not all Democrats are on board yet. Senate Finance Committee Chairman Ron Wyden (D-Ore.) said in a statement Monday afternoon that he doesn’t want to give up on finding a way to approve the tens of billions of dollars in investments in clean energy that was on the table in the talks, given the impending expirations of tax credits.
Wyden said « clean energy conversations must continue to preserve our options moving forward. »
Top House Democratic aides asked leadership staff to add more provisions to reconciliation legislation at a Monday meeting, and were told that was out of the question, a person says familiar with the situation. Caregivers have also been asked to keep the first week of August flexible to account for possible healthcare legislation passed by the Senate.
Nicholas Wu and Joshua Siegel contributed to this report.