Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) is headed to Texas today for a fundraiser hosted by oil and gas bigwigs, The Texas Tribune reported.
The host committee “includes titans of the Texas oil and gas industry — many of whom donate almost exclusively to Republicans,” according to the Tribune, as well as one Democrat, former Houston Mayor Bill White.
Many of the hosts are prolific donors to past GOP nominees, including former President Donald Trump, and to organizations like the Republican Party of Texas, the Republican National Committee, state parties, GOP candidates across the country and to Republicans in U.S. Senate and House leadership. Hosts have also contributed to Gov. Greg Abbott, Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick and House Speaker Dade Phelan.
Manchin hasn’t announced yet whether he’ll run for another term in 2024 (he may instead run for governor in West Virginia again) so it is notable that he’s raising money at this point, especially outside his home state.
The fundraiser also comes a day after Manchin met with Democratic members of the Texas legislature after they fled the state to avoid voting on a controversial voting rights bill that experts say will restrict access to the ballot for people of color. In Washington, D.C., the Texas lawmakers sought to put pressure on Congress to pass legislation to protect voting rights.
After their meeting on Thursday, Manchin said Congress should pass a narrow bill that protects voter rights, like the compromise measure he proposed last month. However, Manchin opposes eliminating the filibuster, the rule that functionally stands in the way of passing any elections bill in the Senate due to Republican opposition to any Democratic proposal on voting rights.
Manchin’s fundraiser with oil and gas donors also underscores the key role he is expected to play in crafting the $3.5 trillion “human” infrastructure bill Democrats are hoping to pass this year.
The $3.5 trillion bill would make key investments in order to meet President Joe Biden’s climate change goals of making 80% of electricity generation “clean,” cutting national carbon emissions in half by 2030, and establishing a clean energy standard that prioritizes renewable energy sources. Environmentalists view the legislation as one of the last best chances to address climate change.
But Manchin, the chairman of the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee, already has concerns about some of the climate provisions in the package.
“If they’re eliminating [fossil fuels], and I’m finding out there’s a lot of language in places they’re eliminating fossils, which is very, very disturbing, because if you’re sticking your head in the sand, and saying that fossil has to be eliminated in America, and they want to get rid of it, and thinking that’s going to clean up the global climate, it won’t clean it up all. If anything, it would be worse,” Manchin told CNN.
The infrastructure bill is expected to be passed through reconciliation, a process that only requires 51 votes. That means any senator ― including Manchin ― can exert leverage over the process for their policy priorities.
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