Joe Manchin holds America’s energy independence, and economic future, in his hands

By Cameron Wallace, Senior Digital Editor on 9/13/2021
U.S. Senator Joe Manchin (D, WV)
U.S. Senator Joe Manchin (D, WV)

EDITORIAL - President Joe Biden’s $3.5-trillion infrastructure bill, designed to throw waves of our children’s children’s dollars at just about everything except infrastructure projects, is dependent on every single Democrat in Congress for its rules-straining passage. West Virginia Senator Joe Manchin stands alone among his fellow Democrats, recognizing the long-term economic damage that this liberal wish list would inflict on America’s ability to meet its own energy needs, and compete in the global economic arena.

Manchin’s stance. Senator Manchin’s objections to Biden’s infrastructure bill center around two issues—fiscal irresponsibility, and a near-willful ignorance of how America’s economy depends on affordable, reliable energy. He recognizes the long-term damage that the contradictory objectives of the left’s plan will inflict, and he is demanding at least a little rational consideration for the future from his Democratic colleagues.

Without Manchin’s vote, the entirety of Joe Biden’s hyper-progressive environmental and social agenda will fail, delivering the left the defeat and shame that they should have felt following the fall of Afghanistan.

Senator Manchin has, many times, acted as the voice of reason in his party, playing an important role to ensure that the Democratic agenda hews to at least some form of economic and political reality. In doing so, he has helped to meet the needs of both sides of the aisle, indeed facilitating the Democrat agenda, while providing just enough pushback to chase out some of the more blatant posturing from leftist party members.

Demos attack their own man. That won’t do this year, however, and the Democrats are throwing everything but the kitchen sink at Manchin to get him to fall into line. Apropos for 2021, the leftist members of Manchin’s own party are fighting dirty.

While lobbyists from across the political spectrum showered West Virginia television with climate-scare ads, fellow Democrat Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez used the Sunday talk-show circuit to accuse him of meeting with fossil fuel lobbyists on a weekly basis to better align with their agenda.

To which Manchin coolly replied to AOC, “You’re entitled to your opinion, you’re just not entitled to create your own facts to support your opinion.”

(In case the reader has ever wondered about the skills one builds over the course of a bureaucratic career, that sort of bon mot thrust straight into an opponent's left ventricle is a prime example.)

Bill’s economic effects. Joe Manchin recognizes the progress that’s being made towards climate targets by burning clean, efficient natural gas to meet electricity needs. California recognizes it as well, having asked for permission from the EPA to burn more natural gas, as wind and solar fail to meet the state’s energy demands.

Manchin also recognizes that the bill’s climate change goals are all but unobtainable when combined with its objectives to strangle America’s energy industry. To wit, the bill also will:

  • Increase foreign reliance on the basic raw materials for electrification, such as copper, by repealing existing mining rights and ruling out millions of additional acres for future development;
  • Raise oil and gas lease rates while shortening terms, imposing “conservation of resource fees” and hiking royalty rates from 12.5% to 20%;
  • Invent annual fees for offshore pipelines of $10,000 per mile, including the 8,600+ miles of the existing Gulf of Mexico pipeline network.

Looking ahead. The senator’s pushback is already producing some results, with Democrats revising their budget plans on Sunday in such a way that they’ll fall well short of Biden’s tax-and-spend revenue targets. It remains to be seen if these fiscal adjustments are enough to sway Joe Manchin’s vote, or if Biden and his comrades will be forced to reconsider their counterproductive assault on domestic energy, as well.

Either way, Senator Manchin’s principled resistance offers the American taxpayer and energy consumer some hope for a less-destructive version of a politically motivated spending jubilee that makes The New Deal seem penurious by comparison. Apropos for 2021, “less destructive” is about the best that America can hope for from the current administration.

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