Though Sen. Joe Manchin’s (D-WV) decision to support the Biden-backed climate and energy spending bill that secured passage in the House last week may have earned him back some goodwill among disgruntled members of his party, constituents back home are feeling betrayed and, as The Hill reports, potentially ready to vote him out of office at the next opportunity.
Manchin’s support of the sweeping – and costly – legislation was pivotal to its passage, and while the bill does include some provisions that are popular with some sectors of the electorate in his home state, such as benefit funding for injured miners supported by a tax on coal companies, the overall impact of his seeming reversal on the type of massive spending the current president has sought may be more than he bargained for.
Coal executives upset by Manchin’s support of making the aforementioned tax permanent have asserted that the tariff will hinder their competitive position in the long term and potentially raise energy costs.
“This legislation is so egregious,m it leaves those of us that call Senator Manchin a friend, shocked and disheartened,” a group of coal group leaders such as the West Virginia Coal Association recently wrote in a letter.
An op-ed in the Wheeling News-Register encapsulated the frustration many in West Virginia are feeling over Manchin’s about-face in the midst of skyrocketing inflation, saying, “We thought our senior senator was on the right path to protecting West Virginia and the nation from the Biden administration’s runaway spending and draconian policy aimed to harm our domestic fossil fuel industry.”
“Unfortunately, Senator Manchin has now reversed course, falling in lockstep with his caucus and leaving the Mountain Stain in the dust,” the op-ed added.
As The Hill further noted, Rep. Alex Mooney (R-WV) is now airing ads blasting Manchin for his newfound stance in what many see as an indication of his plans to mount a primary challenge to the incumbent in 2024.
“Alex Mooney won’t let Joe Manchin and Joe Biden destroy our coal industry and devastate West Virginia,” the ad asserts, in a bold condemnation of the senator’s seeming abandonment of his prior role as frequent spoiler of far-left legislative boondoggles.
Adding to Manchin’s potential electoral difficulties should he choose to seek re-election in 2024 is the fact that none other than former President Donald Trump recently vowed that – because of the senator’s support for the inaccurately named Inflation Reduction Act – he will “go down [there] and campaign against him as hard as anybody can.” Given Trump’s string of recent endorsement successes, that promise should give Manchin real cause for concern.