Lights Out: Biden's Clean Electricity Program May Be Gutted Amid Manchin Standoff

© AFP 2022 / JIM WATSONUS President Joe Biden pauses as he delivers remarks on the August jobs report report in the State Dining Room at the White House in Washington, DC on September 3, 2021
US President Joe Biden pauses as he delivers remarks on the August jobs report report in the State Dining Room at the White House in Washington, DC on September 3, 2021 - Sputnik International, 1920, 16.10.2021
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The most crucial part of US President Joe Biden’s climate change-tackling initiative appears to be dead. The clean electricity program, which would see the US rapidly shift to renewable energy, is likely to be axed due to Sen. Joe Manchin’s (D-WV) opposition.
The program would have committed $150 billion to shift power plants away from coal and natural gas and towards wind and solar energy. Manchin, who represents the coal and natural gas rich state of West Virginia and has deep financial ties to the coal industry, has steadfastly refused to vote for the spending bill if it includes the provision.
Democrats are now scrambling to augment other climate initiatives to try and make up for the loss of the bill’s most crucial climate policy.
“This is absolutely the most important climate policy in the package,” Leah Stokes, an expert on climate policy, said.
The initiative would see the US dramatically reduce its greenhouse gases over the next decade, and, crucially, it would greatly improve the US’ green energy infrastructure. The bill will still include $300 billion to extend existing tax credits.
In the aftermath of Hurricane Ida, an American flag floats in a puddle of flood water Wednesday, Sept. 1, 2021, in Myrtle Grove, La.  - Sputnik International, 1920, 13.10.2021
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Some climate-focused Democrats, such as Minnesota Senator Tina Smith, have indicated they won’t sign a bill without the climate impact that changing the US’ electricity sources would have.
“We must have strong climate action in the Build Back Better budget. I’m open to all approaches, but as I’ve said, I will not support a budget deal that does not get us where we need to go on climate action,” Smith said.
With the Senate split 50-50 and Joe Manchin unwilling to vote against his state’s energy interest, the fight to pass Biden’s Build Back Better budget, while still keeping it intact, appears to be an uphill battle for Democrats. There is growing speculation that Democrats will try to pass a stand-alone clean energy bill if they are unable to court Manchin’s vote.
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