WASHINGTON — The most powerful part of President Biden’s climate agenda — a program to rapidly replace the nation’s coal- and gas-fired power plants with wind, solar and nuclear energy — will likely be dropped from the massive budget bill pending in Congress, according to congressional staffers and lobbyists familiar with the matter.
Senator Joe Manchin III, the Democrat from coal-rich West Virginia whose vote is crucial to passage of the bill, has told the White House that he strongly opposes the clean electricity program, according to three of those people. As a result, White House staffers are now rewriting the legislation without that climate provision, and are trying to cobble together a mix of other policies that could also cut emissions.
The $150 billion clean electricity program was the muscle behind Mr. Biden’s ambitious climate agenda. It would reward utilities that switched from burning fossil fuels to renewable energy sources, and penalize those that do not.
The measure would have significantly reduced the production of greenhouse gases over the next decade, according to experts.
Reducing fossil fuel emissions and cutting greenhouse gases heating the planet are cornerstones of tackling climate change. Biden is aiming to decarbonize the U.S. power grid by 2035 and the U.S. economy by 2050 as part of his climate goals.
In response to an op-ed from Sanders (I-Vt.) published in Manchin’s hometown paper on Friday night, Manchin snapped back: “This isn’t the first time an out-of-stater has tried to tell West Virginians what is best for them despite having no relationship to our state.”
Manchin called Sanders a ‘self-declared independent socialist’.