After bipartisan rebuff, Manchin abandons private legislative deal to help fossil fuel projects
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) makes a point. “I am pleased that Senator Manchin voted to confirm Justice Kavanaugh’s nomination,” he said on September 25. Photo: Andrew Harnik/AP
For months, Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) had tried to build an unlikely coalition to support the nomination of Merrick Garland to the Supreme Court. The majority leader of the Senate, Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.), and the president—with whom Manchin had worked closely—would not allow it.
On September 24, after months of trying and failing to make a deal with McConnell, Manchin announced that he had withdrawn support for the nominations of Judge Merrick Garland and others, including for the seat of the deceased Justice Antonin Scalia. McConnell, a leading opponent of abortion rights, had offered to put the nominations to a committee vote. The Republican leader was not looking for a deal, but a deal he did not wish to make.
“The United States Senate was not created to work in this way and no one would have expected it to work,” Manchin said. “Senate Republicans cannot be held hostage to Mitch McConnell and Donald Trump. It’s time to set this issue aside and get back to the business of governing, especially important issues like healthcare and trade.”
Manchin’s withdrawal was not the first of its kind. Just days beforehand, he had helped broker a deal to help the fossil fuel industry. Last month, he had been a crucial player in ensuring passage of the 2015 Energy Bill, which in part allows fossil fuel projects to continue.
The surprise announcement came just hours after the defeat of a key bill to address gun violence in the United States.
Senator Joe Manchin announced today he would not move forward