February 6, 2023

Senator Joe Manchin of West Virginia defended Democrats’ climate and health legislation they hope to pass on Sunday after Senator Bernie Sanders criticized it in a speech Saturday night.

Sanders, the chairman of the Senate Budget Committee, took to the Senate floor and criticized the legislation, calling it a “so-called Inflation Cut Act” because the Congressional Budget Office said it would do little to combat price hikes.

“I say the so-called, by the way, because according to the Central Bank of Oman and other economic organizations, this bill will, in fact, have little impact on inflation,” he said in a letter. Mr. Sanders delivered the speech as he hoped to add amendments during a “rama vote” where the Senate will vote on several amendments.

In response, many Republicans have highlighted Sanders’ criticism of her lack of significant effect on reducing inflation, and even promoted it on the Republican National Committee Research Twitter account.

Democrats hope to pass the legislation through a process called budget compromise, which allows Democrats to pass it by a simple majority, since they only have 50 seats in the Senate. Vice President Kamala Harris will break the tie.

But Mr. Manchin defended the legislation when asked before independent on Mr. Sanders’ criticism.

“This is not Bernie’s bill. I understand that,” he said. “But it is tremendous legislation that is well balanced. And I think I hope they do it in a positive way.”

Mr. Sanders specifically criticized the fact that the legislation would allow lease sales for drilling in the Gulf of Mexico and Alaska and other items he deemed a “gift” to the fossil fuel industry.

“Under this legislation, up to 60 million acres of public water must be offered for sale each year to the oil and gas industry before the federal government approves any new offshore wind development,” he said.

Manchin defended the rulings, saying how Sanders opposes fossil fuels.

“I know one thing we have to have a fossil for the next decade, or as we go through the transition,” said Manchin. “Anytime that might come but the bottom line is you have to have the energy that we need to run our country and on top of that, you have to have investments in 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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