Joe Manchin Ends Climate Change Provisions in $3.5 Trillion Bill

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Some House and Senate Democrats are mulling a new carbon tax after Sen. Joe Manchin struck down the core of the Democrats' climate plan in the reconciliation bill.

Manchin "doesn't see a formulation that might get past his reservations with regard to rewarding utilities for actions they're already taking." He advocates compensating utilities that transition away from fossil fuels and toward renewables such as wind, solar, and nuclear energy.

Democrats have allegedly investigated additional ways to soften the legislation in an attempt to persuade Manchin to change his mind.

Senator Ron Wyden, the head of the Senate Finance Committee, sees Manchin's rejection as an opportunity to press for a carbon price.

"For three years, I've had a carbon pricing bill in my desk just waiting for the right timing," Wyden has said.

"The number of senators who have approached me about this since early October - following the storms in Louisiana, the East Coast flooding, and the Bootleg wildfires in my own state - has been stunning. Now, a number of senators, including crucial moderates, have stated that they are open to this. There are also a number of House members who have stated that they will support it if the Senate sends it over."

Wyden's staff, which is crafting the carbon tax text, is said to be considering a domestic carbon tax that would start at $15 to $18 per ton and gradually rise.

The proceeds from the carbon tax program, according to Wyden, will be utilized to provide tax rebates or cheques to the poor and working-class Americans.

"They'll be made whole," says the senator. As the country confronts growing inflation and energy prices, a carbon tax could prove to be a politically contentious move.

Environmental justice campaigners have contended that the tax would disproportionately impact low-income neighborhoods since it would not ensure that firms would stop polluting.

Manchin, who hails from West Virginia's coal-rich state and is a pivotal vote in the Senate's evenly divided chamber, also stated late last month that he opposes a carbon tax.

According to reports, the White House is also searching for methods to save some aspects of a carbon tax. The White House said that staff members are continuing to meet with members of Congress and that no final version of climate provisions has been reached.

Democrats are considering a variety of alternatives as centrist senators Joe Manchin and Kyrsten Sinema stall movement on the reconciliation bill because of their dissatisfaction with its $3.5 trillion price tag.

Manchin told some Democrats on a conference call last week that he opposes the expansion of Medicare to cover vision, hearing, and dental care, opposes paid family leave and medical leave proposals, rejects climate-change measures that would cut emissions in half by 2030, and is concerned about tuition-free community college.

Sinema is said to be opposed to tax hikes on corporations, dismissing one of the Democrats' proposals to fund the package.

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