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Manchin Continues to Defy Biden, Democrats, Over Nominees, Energy Development

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OPINION: This article may contain commentary which reflects the author's opinion.


‘Moderate’ Sen. Joe Manchin continues to be a thorn in the side of President Joe Biden and fellow Democrats by refusing to go along with the party’s most extreme left-wing initiatives and political nominees.

Twice last week, for instance, the West Virginia Democrat refused to support Biden’s political nominees as he blasted the administration’s “partisan politics” in picking hard-left nominees.

And he also lashed out at the administration for refusing to follow the letter and spirit of the law when it comes to the co-development of renewable and fossil fuel energy.

In an op-ed Friday published in the Houston Chronicle, Manchin announced that “as chairman of the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee, that I will not be moving forward the nomination of Laura Daniel-Davis as assistant secretary of the Department of Interior.”

That came after Manchin was the sole Democrat to vote against Daniel Werfel’s confirmation as the commissioner of the Internal Revenue Service. Although Werfel was still confirmed by a 54-42 vote, and Manchin’s dissent would not have impeded the appointment even if the vote had been along party lines, it signaled a growing rift between him and his more progressive colleagues on Capitol Hill and Pennsylvania Avenue.

“While Daniel Werfel is supremely qualified to serve as the IRS Commissioner, I have zero faith he will be given the autonomy to perform the job in accordance with the law and for that reason, I cannot support his nomination,” Manchin said, according per The Associated Press.

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As per The Hill, two earlier, Manchin had disclosed that he would not back Gigi Sohn, who is Biden’s controversial nominee to the board of the Federal Communications Commission — which may have complicated her appointment process even further after more than two years.

“Especially now, the FCC must remain above the toxic partisanship that Americans are sick and tired of, and Ms. Sohn has clearly shown she is not the person to do that. For those reasons, I cannot support her nomination to the FCC, and I urge the Biden Administration to put forth a nominee who can bring us together, not drive us apart,” Manchin said in a statement on Tuesday.

His refusal to support her puts him with Republicans on the Senate Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee who have argued she’s too far to the left. The decision means that unless Sohn receives support from all other Democrats in the Senate, which is not guaranteed, and a tie-breaking vote from Vice President Kamala Harris, her prospects of joining the FCC board are slim.

“In the case of Daniel-Davis, however, Manchin’s vote of no confidence means her nomination is effectively tanked and won’t get out of committee,” the Western Journal reported.

In the Houston Chronicle op-ed, Manchin made reference to the Inflation Reduction Act, saying that it “promotes the importance of using all fuel types in the cleanest way possible while also reducing emissions.”

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“It holds the administration’s feet to the fire by ensuring that they, by law, cannot issue leases for renewable projects unless they’ve first held lease sales and issued leases for oil and gas projects. Over the long-term, this could help increase production of renewable and fossil fuel energy, reduce energy costs for hard-working Americans and provide the means for America to support our most energy-vulnerable allies,” he wrote.

However, it appears as though Daniel-Davis had no intention of honoring the spirit of the legislation, Manchin pointed out.

“Davis approved higher royalty rates for the Alaskan Cook Inlet sale, which were explicitly designed to decrease fossil energy production at the expense of our energy security,” he wrote. “Even though I supported her in the past, I cannot, in good conscience, support her or anyone else who will play partisan politics and agree with this misguided and dangerous manipulation of the law.”

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He also seemed surprised that the Biden administration also was not following the spirit of the law in terms of fossil fuel development.

“Instead of following the legislation designed to ensure America’s energy security, they have chosen to illogically advance a partisan climate agenda and appease radical activists,” Manchin wrote.

“In fact, over the last few months, both the Department of Treasury and Department of the Interior have explicitly and unabashedly violated the letter of the law, the intent of the law, or both, in an effort to elevate climate goals above the energy and national security of this nation. This is wrong and it must stop,” he said.

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