Joe Manchin Initially Disregarded Fears Over Natural Gas Bans. Now He Seeks Recognition for Halting Them.
West Virginia Democrat opposes measure banning natural gas in buildings.
In 2021, West Virginia Senator Joe Manchin, a Democrat, introduced a measure to block the banning of gas stoves. This move comes as Manchin faces a challenging reelection year and seeks to secure the support of his constituents. However, it is worth noting that just two years ago, Manchin opposed a similar measure, arguing that he did not believe natural gas bans were likely to happen.
During a Senate Energy Committee meeting in July 2021, Manchin expressed his skepticism about the possibility of gas stove bans, stating that he would be concerned if he thought they were likely to occur. Other Democrats, such as New Mexico Senator Martin Heinrich, disagreed with Manchin's stance and supported moves towards "electrification" as a means of achieving energy savings.
This is not the first time that Manchin has changed his position on energy policy as he approaches an election year. In May, he criticized the Biden administration for its failure to promote offshore oil and gas development, despite previously voting against measures that would have required more offshore lease sales. Manchin's shifting positions may be attributed to his desire to appeal to voters in a state that strongly supported former President Donald Trump.
Currently, Manchin has not announced his plans for the future, and his office has not responded to requests for comment. There has been speculation about a potential third-party presidential bid, which has caused concern among his Senate Democratic colleagues. They would prefer Manchin to run for reelection, but he may face a tough campaign against popular Republican governor Jim Justice.
Recent polling suggests that Justice has more support among likely general election voters compared to Manchin. These numbers may explain why Manchin is considering a third-party "unity ticket" run, despite objections from Senate Democrats. During an event with the centrist group No Labels, Manchin expressed his concern for the nation and his desire to save it.
Regardless of his political ambitions, Manchin has positioned himself as a critic of President Joe Biden's spending in recent months. He has specifically criticized Biden's trillion-dollar Inflation Reduction Act, which he himself played a significant role in shaping. However, it is worth noting that just a few months prior, Manchin praised the bill and called it the most transformative piece of legislation in Congress.
In addition to his criticism of the bill, Manchin has also expressed opposition to the Biden administration's plans to restrict gas stove sales. The Energy Department has defended this move as a necessary step to address the global climate crisis and promote energy conservation. However, industry leaders argue that the proposed standards would effectively ban the sale of a significant portion of gas stoves on the market.
Manchin's history of changing positions on various issues, including immigration and energy policy, has drawn criticism from opponents. However, he has consistently maintained that he is acting in the best interest of his constituents and the nation as a whole. As he navigates the political landscape, Manchin will continue to face scrutiny and must carefully consider his stance on key issues.