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The left is angry with Sen. Joe Manchin for rejecting climate-related provisions in a reconciliation bill Democrats hope to pass this month – but Democrats in Congress say they have no appetite for major retaliation against him.
“I don’t think it’s very wise to kick him out of the party right now and hand the gavels over to the Republicans,” Rep. Andy Levin, D-Mich., said of the idea of kicking Manchin out of the party. “In our anger, we don’t want to be foolish.”
Levin was responding to calls from some, including former Clinton Labor Secretary Robert Reich, for Manchin to lose his chairmanship of the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee and to be run out of the party.
Reich said in a recent Substack post that Democrats wouldn’t really lose anything if Manchin were to switch parties to the GOP in reaction to such a move. “They already lost control over the Senate,” he said.
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But even with Democrats emphasizing that climate change action Manchin refused to vote for this month is key to fighting grave climate threats, multiple House Democrats tamped down on any calls for acting against Manchin.
“I’m not too interested in that, to tell you the truth,” Rep. Jamie Raskin, D-Md., said. “I mean, I’m interested in getting us unified, not just among the Democrats, but among Democrats and Republicans.”
Raskin added that climate change is a “civilizational threat” and a “threat to our national security.” He said President Biden should take “whatever actions we can,” using executive action.
Rep. Ted Lieu, D-Calif., said, “no,” when asked about suggestions to remove Manchin from his chairmanship of the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee and from the Democratic Party. But he also noted that Manchin has said he’s open to potentially revisiting climate legislation later this year.
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“My understanding is what he talked about was a delay,” Lieu said. “And you have to talk to him for additional information what he means by that.”
Manchin said in a Friday interview on West Virginia’s MetroNews Talkline with Hoppy Kercheval that he could be open to passing climate and energy elements of reconciliation later this year if inflation appears to be slowing.
“Political headlines are of no value to the millions of Americans struggling to afford groceries and gas as inflation soars to 9.1%,” Manchin spokesperson Sam Runyon said last week. “Senator Manchin believes it’s time for leaders to put political agendas aside, reevaluate and adjust to the economic realities the country faces to avoid taking steps that add fuel to the inflation fire.”
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Despite Manchin’s explanations, Levin and Rep. Pramila Jayapal, D-Wash., reads into him for blocking legislation supported by most in the party.
“To me, Joe Manchin is Lucy. He’s not Joe Manchin anymore. He’s Lucy Manchin. I don’t think the ‘Peanuts’ characters had last names. So all of a sudden I’m calling Lucy from Peanuts, Lucy Manchin,” Levin said. “All he does is put the football down over and over. And then as soon as Charlie Brown, like his whole Democratic team, comes to kick the ball, he picks it up and laughs. And then he does it again and again.”
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“It’s unfortunate that one man can kill legislation that will save our planet and… save our world, save our people,” Jayapal said. “We think it’s important for the president now to take executive action. That’s not going to be enough. And we can’t lead the world when we have one person on our side who’s…killing all of that legislation.”
Jayapal did not answer a question from Fox News Digital about whether she would support kicking Manchin out of the party. Levin further accused Manchin of negotiating in bad faith on legislation Democrats have been suing for over a year.
“I’m disgusted by the behavior of Joe Manchin over many, many months. He has not been honest. He has not been forthcoming. He has not kept his word. So I’m furious at him,” he said.
But if Democrats can just get more members in the Senate, Levin said, “A skunk in the picnic like Joe Manchin, nobody would even remember him… Let him complain and whine about everything and keep, you know, moving the goalposts. It wouldn’t ‘t matter.”