The main purpose of this ongoing blog will be to track planetary extreme, or record temperatures related to climate change. Any reports I see of ETs will be listed below the main topic of the day. I’ll refer to extreme or record temperatures as ETs (not extraterrestrials). 😉
Main Topic: It’s an Emphatic “No” To Build Back Better and the Green New Deal…Manchin Just Killed Our Climate
Dear Diary. Today’s post is full of more woe than any I have written or complied since starting this website in the spring of 2017. I’m distraught, angry, and disappointed today. I got up this Sunday morning learning that Senator Joe Manchin has made up his mind and will vote “no” on President Joe Biden’s Build Back Better plan with all of its many climate provisions. He said as much on Fox News this morning. All negotiations from him are apparently over with fossil fuel interests have won the day. Oh, and as an aside, many initiatives and financing, such as those for childcare and healthcare, are dead too.
So, what does this mean going through the rest of this crucial decade on climate? Experts will be trying to answer this question going through this Christmas week…although there will be no presents left under the tree for climate people…only black, sooty and deadly coal, which is warming our planet.
After today, what will happen to the Paris Accords since the United States has been looked upon to set an example for countries to follow? We will see during the next few years.
Today I will be posting reactions to Manchin’s announcement. Here is an initial Washington Post summary on Manchin’s dire, emphatic “no.” (For a video of lawmaker reaction, click on the following link for the original article.):
Manchin says he ‘cannot vote’ for Democrats’ $2 trillion spending package
The West Virginia Democrat says ‘This is a no,’ potentially spelling doom for major part of Biden agenda
By Tony Romm Today at 9:25 a.m. EST |Updated today at 12:19 p.m. EST
Sen. Joe Manchin III (D-W.Va.) on Sunday said that he could not support Democrats’ roughly $2 trillion bill to overhaul the country’s health care, education, climate, immigration and tax laws, dealing a potentially fatal blow to the final piece of President Biden’s economic agenda.
The statement of opposition amounted to the most forceful condemnation yet from the moderate Democratic holdout, who cited rising consumer prices, a growing federal debt and the arrival of a new coronavirus variant as reasons he could not supply his must-have vote to help his party adopt its signature spending package.
“I can’t move forward. I cannot vote to continue with this piece of legislation, I just can’t,” Manchin said on “Fox News Sunday.”
“I tried everything humanly possible,” he added of his negotiations with Democrats, including Biden. “I can’t get there. … This is a no.”
Manchin’s comments immediately drew a rare, sharp rebuke from the Biden administration. White House press secretary Jen Psaki said the senator’s comments appear to be “at odds with his discussions this week with the President, with White House staff, and with his own public utterances.”
“If his comments on FOX and written statement indicate an end to that effort, they represent a sudden and inexplicable reversal in his position, and a breach of his commitments to the President and the Senator’s colleagues in the House and Senate,” she said.
Manchin’s stalwart refusal still appeared to amount to a political death blow for the bill, known as the Build Back Better Act, at least in its current form. Without his support, Senate Democrats simply cannot move the sprawling measure through the narrowly divided chamber even using the process known as reconciliation, an intricate legislative tactic that allows the party to bypass a guaranteed Republican filibuster.
Biden had sought to assuage Manchin’s concerns in recent days, speaking privately with the centrist Democrat in an attempt to win his vote. The talks marked a last-ditch effort in the waning hours of the year to dislodge a long-delayed measure that aims to expand Medicare benefits, authorize prekindergarten for all American children, invest new sums to combat climate change and provide a slew of new financial support to help low-income Americans.
But talks quickly stalled, as Manchin continued to demand significant changes to the size and scope of the spending package, threatening the ability of Democrats to deliver on many of the promises they made on the 2020 campaign trail. The stalemate ultimately left party leaders no choice but to abandon their plan to hold a vote on the bill before Christmas, a move that meant lawmakers could not act in time to extend a soon-to-expire federal program that provides payments to more than 35 million American families with children.
“Maybe Senator Manchin can explain to the millions of children who have been lifted out of poverty, in part due to the Child Tax Credit, why he wants to end a program that is helping achieve this milestone—we cannot,” Psaki said in her lengthy retort.
In a statement, issued later Sunday, Manchin signaled that he could continue negotiating with Biden and other top Democrats on a scaled-back version of the bill. But the senator otherwise said he could not “vote to move forward with this mammoth piece of legislation,” which he said would “dramatically reshape our society in a way that leaves our country even more vulnerable to the threats we face.”
Manchin’s comments drew a sharp rebuke Sunday from Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), the leader of the chamber’s budget panel and the chief architect of the spending plan.
Appearing on CNN’s “State of the Union,” Sanders blasted Manchin for lacking the “guts” to stand up to powerful business lobbyists, including the pharmaceutical industry. He called on Democrats to bring the bill to the floor anyway and force Manchin to cast a decisive vote against it.
“Look, we’ve been dealing with Mr. Manchin for month after month after month. But if he doesn’t have the courage to do the right thing for the working families of West Virginia and America, let him vote no in front of the whole world,” Sanders said.
For Democrats, the political collision on Sunday marked the inevitable climax in a debate that has grand implications for the 2022 midterm elections. It revealed the fragility of the party’s narrow congressional majorities and the limits of Biden’s own prowess as a negotiator, after the president spent months trying to coalesce allied lawmakers around a shared economic vision.
The saga began in the spring, when Biden first unveiled two spending blueprints to improve the nation’s aging infrastructure while providing new aid to families struggling financially nationwide. The size and scope of that second spending package, eventually valued at roughly $3.5 trillion, immediately troubled Manchin — and prompted Democrats to embark on a months-long process to whittle their ambitions down to a size he would support.
WASHINGTON, DC – DECEMBER 16: Sen. Joe Manchin, D-W.Va., walks to a Democratic policy luncheon on Capitol Hill on Thursday, Dec. 16, 2021 in Washington, DC. (Jabin Botsford/The Washington Post)
Party lawmakers soon clawed back not only the cost of their proposal but its vast policy scope, seeking to woo Manchin at times by shelving entire provisions, including those that aimed to combat climate change and provide millions of Americans with paid family and medical leave. But the changes never quite satisfied the senator, who began in the fall to call on lawmakers to “pause” the legislative process.
Fearful that Manchin might walk away from the negotiations, liberal-leaning lawmakers in the House sought to force his hand. For months, they pledged to hold up the infrastructure package, which the moderate senator did support, to preserve the Build Back Better Act. But they ultimately loosened their grip in November, acceding to Biden’s requests to adopt the bipartisan measure to improve the nation’s roads, bridges, pipes, ports and Internet connections. Weeks later, House Democrats gave a green light to a scaled-back, roughly $2 trillion version of the Build Back Better Act.
From there, though, Manchin only ramped up his criticisms.
Lawmakers chose in the 10-year spending plan to stagger start and ending dates of many of its policy components, an attempt to lower its costs while ensuring it does not add to the deficit. But Manchin described that approach as a gimmick meant to hide its true cost.
Instead, Manchin demanded in recent weeks that every part of the Build Back Better Act must be funded over 10 years, all the while keeping its price tag under $1.75 trillion. The condition essentially rendered it impossible for Democrats to preserve the breadth of their package and adopt even the ideas that are popular within the party, including an extension of expanded federal child tax benefits, which on its own could cost into the trillions.
In staking that position, Manchin essentially sided with Republicans, who have claimed the bill could cost trillions of dollars more than Democrats say. The stalemate led Biden personally to acknowledge on Thursday that it could still be “weeks” before the two sides could finalize an agreement — until Manchin on Sunday outlined his wide-ranging opposition to the bill.
“I cannot take that risk with a staggering debt of more than $29 trillion and inflation taxes that are real and harmful to every hard-working American at the gasoline pumps, grocery stores and utility bills with no end in sight.
Republicans quickly delighted in the news. Sen. Lindsay Graham (R-S.C.), the top GOP lawmaker on the chamber’s budget committee, praised Manchin and stressed in a statement lawmakers must “focus on roaring inflation, particularly in the energy sector, as well as a broken supply chain, and potential threats coming from the new coronavirus variant.”
The White House, meanwhile, issued a lengthy rebuttal of Manchin’s claims. In her statement, Psaki said that economists have found the roughly $2 trillion proposal would not worsen inflation but rather ease some of its pressures. She stressed the spending is financed in full, with changes to federal tax policies ensuring it adds nothing to the deficit. And she said the Biden administration would not abandon its push to see the bill become law.
“Just as Senator Manchin reversed his position on Build Back Better this morning, we will continue to press him to see if he will reverse his position yet again, to honor his prior commitments and be true to his word,” she said.
But the uncertainty left many other Democrats seething, feeling that they had been duped by one of their own.
“I am deeply saddened in this moment because much needed resources we have fought all year for, that we have fought for decades for, are not coming,” said Rep. Jamaal Bowman (D-N.Y.)
Bowman had joined a camp of lawmakers in the left-leaning Congressional Progressive Caucus who voted against the infrastructure bill earlier this year to preserve it as leverage in talks with Manchin.
“We were concerned that Manchin and others weren’t negotiating in good faith,” Bowman said on Sunday. “And that’s exactly what’s playing out in real time.”
Amy Wang contributed to this report.
More reaction from experts and activists:
Here are some of Sunday’s “ET’s:”
Here is more climate and weather news from Sunday:
(As usual, this will be a fluid post in which more information gets added during the day as it crosses my radar, crediting all who have put it on-line. Items will be archived on this site for posterity. In most instances click on the pictures of each tweet to see each article. The most noteworthy items will be listed first.)
Now here are some of today’s articles and notes on the horrid COVID-19 pandemic:
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Guy Walton “The Climate Guy”