Sen. Joe Manchin is the leading contender to become the senior Democrat on the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee. Manchin, however, is pro-coal, as befits a Senator from West Virginia. And when Manchin ran for the Senate in 2010, a campaign ad featured him shooting a bullet through a piece of “climate change” legislation.
The left wasn’t amused then, and it isn’t amused now. Tom Steyer has joined environmental activists in calling on Sen. Chuck Schumer to keep Manchin out of the Ranking Member spot.
Washington Gov. Jay Inslee, whom the New York Times describes as a “White House aspirant,” said this of Manchin:
He supports Donald Trump’s dirty energy agenda. He simply can’t be trusted to make the bold, progressive decisions we need.
Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez also weighed in. She stated:
I have concerns over the senator’s chairmanship just because I do not believe that we should be financed by the industries that we are supposed to be legislating and regulating and touching with our legislation.
The young airhead apparently is unaware that, because the GOP controls the Senate, Manchin will not chair the Energy Committee.
Manchin doesn’t have to face the West Virginia electorate for six more years, and it’s not clear he will ever run again. However, Inslee is probably right — Manchin can’t be trusted to make “bold, progressive” decisions about coal.
It’s also true, however, that the Ranking Member of the Senate Energy Committee doesn’t make decisions about coal, a point several Senate Democrats have noted. For this reason, I suspect that Schumer will permit Manchin to ascend to this position.
If he doesn’t, Manchin should strongly consider switching parties. One analysis found that he votes with President Trump 60.8 percent of the time. And fewer than half of his votes adhere to the line of the League of Conservation Voters, a lefty environmental outfit.
Democrats could prevent Manchin’s ascension while still honoring seniority rules. But that would require several Senators to change their plans regarding committee assignments. This would be a transparent ploy to block Manchin in order to accommodate the left.
I don’t think it will happen, but, again, if it does, Manchin would be well advised to abandon the party that will have abandoned him.