“I think it’s a great piece of legislation and on normal times, my Republican colleagues would be for something like this. We’ve basically paid down debt, (which) is what they want. We’ve accelerated permitting, which is what they want. And we’ve increased production of energy, which is what they want. We’ve done things that we should be doing together,” Manchin, who represents West Virginia, told CNN’s Jake Tapper on “State of the Union.”
“Well, we found that they were wrong. And people can be wrong, but how in the world can it be inflammatory?” Manchin told Tapper. “How can it add flames to inflation fires right now if you’re paying down debt?”
He added: “We’re doing everything we can to make sure we attack the problem. And these are solutions to the problems we have. So I know the ones playing politics with it.”
When Manchin and Schumer, a New York Democrat, announced the deal last week, it represented a breakthrough after more than a year of negotiations that have collapsed time and again.
Although many details have not been disclosed, the measure would invest $369 billion into energy and climate change programs, with the goal of reducing carbon emissions by 40% by 2030, according to a one-page fact sheet. It would also address the permitting of energy infrastructure, which could ease the path for a shale gas pipeline in West Virginia.
Manchin on Sunday was asked about getting fellow moderate Democratic Sen. Kyrsten Sinema’s support for the legislation.
“Sen. Sinema is my dear friend. We work very close together on so many things, and she has so much in this piece of legislation. She’s formed quite a bit of and worked on it very hard. And with that, she’s brought down drug prices, she’s been very instrumental in letting Medicare go ahead and negotiate for lower drug prices,” Manchin said of the Arizona senator.
He added: “I think that basically when she looks at the bill and sees the whole spectrum of what we’re doing… hopefully she will be positive about it, but she’ll make her decision and I respect that.”
Manchin also said he hopes the legislation passes before the August recess, which is what the Democratic leadership is hoping for.
“I never did walk away, but we reorganized the bill, if you will,” he said. “What we had before that, there were things in there that I considered and thought could be considered to be inflammatory. … Inflation is the greatest challenge we have in our country right now — around in my state and around the country. So that’s what we’re fighting.”
“We haven’t seen any text, we don’t even know what it looks like. So this is a disaster. This is going to make our recession worse. It’s going to make inflation worse. It’s not gonna do any good. I am really surprised that Joe agreed to this,” he told Tapper.
This story has been updated to include additional information from the interview.