West Virginia Sen. Joe Manchin is pushing for a bipartisan climate bill after seemingly moving on from Democratic plans to use budget reconciliation to approve more than $500 billion in climate funding, Politico reports.
Manchin and Alaska Republican Lisa Murkowski organized a meeting on Monday to gauge bipartisan interest in a bill on climate and energy security.
A Manchin spokesman said the meeting was “an effort to gauge bipartisan interest in a path forward that addressed our nation’s climate and energy security needs head on.”
Democrats like Rep. Ro Khanna and Sens. Brian Schatz, Tom Carper, Mark Warner, Mark Kelly, Kevin Cramer, and John Hickenlooper were in attendance.
Manchin told NBC News after the meeting that he wants a bipartisan bill “like we did a bipartisan infrastructure bill.”
"It’s urgent to find out if there is a pathway, if there is any way that we can find a pathway in a bipartisan, bicameral way,” Manchin said.
Manchin denies walking away:
Manchin denied that he was dropping negotiations with fellow Democrats over a slimmed-down version of President Joe Biden’s Build Back Better plan.
“Reconciliation for me is about getting inflation under control, paying down this debt, getting a handle on what’s going on” through tax reform, Manchin told reporters.
He denied that the bipartisan discussions meant that climate provisions would not be included.
“We’re just starting,” he said of the bipartisan talks, adding that attendees are “just seeing if there’s a commonality to make sure we have reliable energy and also be able to go down the path to address the climate issues we’re all concerned about.”
Cramer, a North Dakota Republican, attended the meeting but expressed doubts about a path forward.
“Is there something that can attract 10 Republicans that doesn’t scare away 10 Democrats?” he told Politico. “If it starts looking like a reconciliation or Build Back Better, then obviously Republicans will be out.”
West Virginia Republican Shelley Moore Capito said such a deal was a “long shot.”
“It looked just like BBB to me. I am not sure if there is a sweet spot there,” she said.