WASHINGTON, D.C. — Legislation aimed at helping stem climate change stalled after Sen. Joe Manchin (D-WV) said that he would refuse to support it until after this summer. But other Democratic senators say the bill’s fate has not been sealed yet.
"Right now, when Americans are getting mugged at the checkout counter all across this country it is important to, for example, deliver, in this work period, real relief to seniors and millions of Americans who are getting clobbered by these prices and do it now," said Sen. Ron Wyden (D-OR) in a conversation with reporters at the Capitol on Tuesday. "I will never stop working for clean energy for America legislation. We know that these tax credits have expired. The reality if you want to make the kinds of transformative changes and deal with climate change there are two areas that I focus on: prices with Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RH) and the other is taxes."
Their plan declares that the more carbon neutral a company is the larger its tax savings. He explained that it would take into account new technologies as they become available. Instead of "picking winners and losers" in green energy, it would equally distribute tax breaks across the board equally, Wyden said.
"It hits 50 percent of the president's emissions targets," he also said.
Sen. Tom Carper (D-DE) lamented that he doesn't want to walk away from the legislation and that they have a few weeks left before the August recess left to pass it. He told Raw Story that there are many bipartisan agreements on various forms of energy that even red states are investing in.
"We felt like we had a really good negotiated provision on methane and others, so we're looking at other" options, Sen. Tim Kaine (D-VA) explained. He noted that he isn't involved in negotiating with Manchin and that there are others who are focused on that.
Sen. Rev. Raphael Warnock (D-GA) similarly expressed concern about the fate of the bill saying that they have to ensure a clean energy future. Despite being a "southern Democrat" in an election year, he supports the bill.
"Well, I don't know that we were ever going to get 60 people, combination of people either way," said Sen. Kevin Cramer (R-ND). "I don't know how difficult it is to get all Dems on board, but he [Manchin] did clearly try and take the efforts of the bipartisan group and apply what — be informed by what he learned there as part of a reconciliation. I think he had the same problem, he just didn't have — even there he couldn't get 50 Democrats to support what he was proposing from the bipartisan group."
He went on to say that between now and the election in November he has little interest in passing the climate bill.
"I find it difficult to want to help to be honest with you," Cramer said with a chuckle. "Because it's so — the Democratic climate agenda is so fantastic. By that I mean full of fantasy and unreal and radical that they don't have any sense of reality in terms of 24/hour 7 day-a-week power, for example. So, if we take control you can expect a much more aggressive approach to energy."
He didn't elaborate on specifics he found radical or what he meant by not having access to power.
Sen. John Cornyn (R-TX) is frustrated by the fact that they have to vote on bills instead of Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-NY) calculating how many votes he has to support. He wouldn't comment on the climate legislation specifically, however.
With additional reporting from Matt Laslo.