On Friday, an energetic Joe Manchin spoke to a room full of oil and gas executives in Houston. The following Monday, after long declining to state his position publicly, he came out against Biden’s nomination of Sarah Bloom Raskin to become the top banking cop at the Federal Reserve, as vice chair of supervision. Like his Republican colleagues on the Senate Banking Committee—who boycotted a vote on all pending Fed nominations over Raskin’s professed willingness to incorporate the reality of the climate crisis into banking rules—Manchin cited “the critical importance of financing an all-of-the-above energy policy to meet our nation’s critical energy needs.” By Tuesday afternoon, Raskin had withdrawn her nomination.
Manchin, the Senate’s top recipient of coal, oil, and gas donations, didn’t mention climate-related financial regulations during his remarks on Friday. His industry donors have been plenty outspoken about it, though. And his address to them indicated a willingness to do what they want. At S&P Global’s CERAWeek—one of the continent’s largest energy conferences—Manchin seemed to present himself as a representative for the industry in Washington, offering the room pointers on how to deal with politicians.
“We haven’t been good at … you know, I say, ‘we,’” Manchin said, stumbling a bit, seeming to count himself among the assembled fossil fuel executives. “The energy—the leadership of energy in our country. We haven’t told our story. There’s an old story in politics: Tell your story before someone tells one on you. It’s hard to play defense. It’s much easier to run an offensive play, then make your adjustments.” [Continue reading…]