What Will It Take for the Dems to Win Back Manchin?

DCStockPhotography / Shutterstock.com
DCStockPhotography / Shutterstock.com

Joe Manchin isn’t a very good Democrat. He’s not liberal. He doesn’t like the progressive agendas. That’s good news for the GOP, but it seems that he’s putting quite the damper on the plans that the Democratic Party has.

The major spending bill that Democrats are trying to pass that focuses on social spending and climate change needs to have Manchin’s approval. They simply don’t have enough of a majority in the Senate to do what they want without him on board.

Senator Manchin from West Virginia has made his objections to the clean energy component known. So, lawmakers may give the okay to use some of the climate funds for coal and gas plants. It would be the Dems’ way of winning Manchin back to their side of the bargaining table.

If the climate funds could be used by coal and natural gas power plants, it means that they could receive billions in incentives to create clean energy. This would be good news for fossil fuel producers in West Virginia. When the producers of Manchin’s state wins, he wins.

There’s just one problem, though. Progressive Democrats don’t want to budge. They don’t want to see the incentives go to coal and gas plants.

If it were up to the progressives, the incentives would be used to help the nation transition. They’d rather see coal and gas be ditched entirely in favor of greener sources.

Under the proposed change, coal and gas plants will qualify for the incentives if they embrace technology that captures greenhouse gas emissions.

The Clean Electricity Performance Program (CEPP) would allow the Dems to quickly transition the country toward solar and wind power. It would reduce greenhouse gas emissions drastically, but solar and wind power are not the only forms of power – and they are not always effective.

Senator Manchin seems to be the only one to raise issues. He wants to redefine what is considered “clean energy” and what qualifies. If CEPP makes it into the reconciliation bill, Manchin’s going to have problems – and it may be what prevents the reconciliation bill from being passed.

If the progressives would come off of their impossible standards for clean energy by a bit, it would allow coal-fired and natural gas power plants to fit within the program. As long as they outfit their plants with carbon-capturing equipment, they could qualify. And, it would win Manchin over in the process.

One spokesperson for the House Energy Committee told POLITICO that “Chairman (Frank) Pallone is focused on enacting the most robust clean energy investment program possible, and he is continuing to work with other congressional leaders to make that happen.”

That’s great, but there’s just one big question…are the carbon emissions factors going to be adjusted to make room for coal and gas? Well, that’s when we’re getting crickets.

Environmental groups are afraid that giving into Manchin will mean that the use of fossil fuels would be prolonged. Meanwhile, the rest of the country is simply looking at what makes sense to ensure that we have the energy efficiency we need within our homes and businesses.

As usual, the Democrats can’t agree on a path. So, it seems they either give into Manchin or they watch their dreams of saving the planet from itself drift into the atmosphere along with all of the carbon emissions.