Thursday 27 April 2023

Manchin Continues Feud With Biden Admin, Backs GOP Bills To Roll Back Two Pillars Of Biden Climate Agenda

 Senator Joe Manchin (D-WV) fired the latest salvo in his ongoing conflict with the Biden administration over climate policy.

The moderate Democrat lent his support to two Republican proposals intended to overturn key pieces of the Biden climate agenda Wednesday. First, he cast the deciding vote to pass a GOP-backed bill that would overturn EPA regulations on trucks. Then, he co-sponsored a bill that would reinstate tariffs on solar imports. The moves follow previous threats from Manchin to vote to overturn the $740 billion Inflation Reduction Act entirely.

First, the Senate passed a Congressional Review Act joint resolution on Wednesday that would roll back the EPA’s stringent restrictions on nitrogen oxides and particulate matter emissions from heavy-duty trucks. The vote was 50-49, with Manchin casting the deciding vote.

“The last couple of years have shown that truck drivers keep our country moving,” Manchin said in a statement after the vote. “However, the Biden Administration wants to burden the trucking industry with oppressive regulations that will increase prices by thousands of dollars and push truck drivers and small trucking companies out of business. When our country faces record-high inflation and vulnerable supply chains, we cannot let the EPA continue to seize unrestrained power and create regulations that devastate our economy. I am proud to support this resolution to stop this government overreach.”

The Biden administration, however, has already signaled that the rollback will not become law. The White House said Wednesday that Biden would veto the bill. The restrictions, which would affect trucks beginning in model year 2027, are estimated to reduce nitrogen oxide emissions by 48% by 2045, Roll Call reported. They are expected to cost around $3.9 billion in 2027 and $4.7 billion in 2045, the Washington Examiner noted.

Manchin also co-sponsored a similar CRA resolution authored by Senator Rick Scott (R-FL), which would re-establish tariffs on solar panels imported from Cambodia, Malaysia, Thailand, and Vietnam. The Biden administration paused those tariffs in 2022.

“The United States relies on foreign nations, like China, for far too many of our energy needs, and failing to enforce our existing trade laws undermines the goals of the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law and Inflation Reduction Act to onshore our energy supply chains, including solar,” Manchin said in a separate press release. “I cannot fathom why the Administration and Congress would consider extending that reliance any longer and am proud to join this CRA to rescind the rule.”

A Commerce Department report, via Reuters, found that American solar companies are dodging import duties on Chinese-manufactured solar panels by moving them through the four Southeast Asian countries.

The moves come two days after Manchin threatened to vote to repeal the Inflation Reduction Act — the Biden administration’s landmark climate spending bill, which he cast the critical vote for — if they did not stop their aggressive green energy push. “If this administration does not honor what they said they would do and continue to liberalize [green energy investment] — I will do everything in my power to prevent that from happening,” the senator told Fox News’s Sean Hannity in an interview on Monday. “And if they don’t change, then I would vote to repeal my own bill.”

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