Senator Joe Manchin of West Virginia defended the Democrats signature climate and health legislation they are hoping to pass on Sunday after Senator Bernie Sanders criticised it in a speech Saturday evening.
Mr Sanders, who is chairman of the Senate Budget Committee, took to the Senate floor and criticised the legislation, calling it the “so-called Inflation Reduction Act” because the Congressional Budget Office said it would not do much to combat rising prices.
“I say so-called, by the way, because according to the CBO and other economic organizations this bill will, in fact, have a minimal impact on inflation,” he said in a speech. Mr Sanders delivered the speech as he hoped to add amendments during the “vote-a-rama” wherein the Senate would vote on multiple amendments.
In response, multiple Republicans highlighted Mr Sanders’ critiques about it not having much effect of reducing inflation and even promoted it on the Republican National Committee’s research Twitter account.
Democrats are hoping to pass the legislation through a process called budget reconciliation, which allows Democrats to pass it with a simple majority, since they only have 50 Senate seats. Vice President Kamala Harris would break the tie.
But Mr Manchin defended the legislation when asked by The Independent about Mr Sanders’s critiques.
“This is not Bernie’s bill. I understand that,” he said. “But it’s a piece of legislation that’s tremendous piece of legislation is pretty well balanced. And I think that hopefully they’ll do that in positive way.”
Mr Sanders specifically criticised the fact that the legislation would allow for lease sales for drilling in the Gulf of Mexico and Alaska and other provisions he considered a “giveaway” to the fossil fuel industry.
“Under this legislation, up to 60 million acres of public waters must be offered up for sale each and every year to the oil and gas industry before the federal government could approve any new offshore wind development,” he said.
Mr Manchin defended the provisions, saying how Mr Sanders opposes fossil fuels.
“I know one thing we have to have fossil for the next the next decade and or as we do the transition,” Mr Manchin said. “Whenever that may come but bottom line is you got to have the energy that we need to run our country and on top of that, you have to have the investments for the new energy that will take us down the road and that’s all we’re doing. It’s a balanced approach.”
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