Senator Joe Manchin (D-WV) who recently stopped Biden’s climate change program dead in its tracks, has stunned Washington by suddenly saying he will support his agenda to fight the climate crisis.
The West Virginian just stated on July 14th that he would not support funding for climate or clean energy programs, however, now he is willing to back a bill to raise corporate taxes, fight climate change and lower medicine costs – a major legislative victory for Mr Biden.
Manchin didn’t say why he has changed his mind but the shift is considered something of a political anomaly. He did share that he has worked diligently to get input from all sides – Republicans, who have previously tried to woo him to join their party.
“I can’t believe that Senator Manchin is agreeing to a massive tax increase in the name of climate change when our economy is in a recession,” said Senator Lindsey Graham of South Carolina.
“If enacted, this legislation will be historic,” commented president Joe Biden.
The bill that Manchin is expected to support now involves $369 billion devoted to climate policies such as tax credits for solar panels, wind turbines and electric vehicles, and tackles the impact of pollution on low-income communities. It would help the US lower its carbon emissions by about 40% by 2030.
According to Mr Manchin and Mr Schumer, the bill would pay for itself by raising $739 billion over the decade through hiking the corporate minimum tax on big companies to 15%, beefing up Internal Revenue Service tax enforcement and allowing the government to negotiate prescription drug prices.
Biden needs the support of all 50 Democratic senators to get the legislation through the Senate and send it to the House of Representatives where Democrats hold a majority.
The bill is still significantly less than the $1.9 trillion Build Back Better plan aiming to comprehensively rewrite the US’s health, education, climate and tax laws that the Senate killed a few months ago. It is even more scaled down than the $3.5 trillion version Democrats originally put forward.
However, if passed, it is considered to be the greatest pro-climate legislation that has ever been accepted by Congress.