One coal state senator holds the key to Biden’s ambitious climate agenda. And it’s not McConnell.
By Sarah Kaplan and Dino Grandoni
He’s a coal country native, born to a family of mining town mayors. As West Virginia governor, he sued the Environmental Protection Agency. He has scuttled efforts to regulate greenhouse gas emissions, criticized the Paris climate agreement and famously shot a copy of a cap-and-trade carbon proposal full of lead.
Now the fate of the most ambitious climate agenda ever proposed by an American president rests in his hands.
Sen. Joe Manchin III, who is set to become chairman of the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee, is a conservative Democrat from one of the reddest states in the country. In a Senate split 50-50, Manchin is also a crucial swing vote on contentious legislation, defining the limits of what President Biden and the Democrats can accomplish. Over the weekend, he led a bipartisan, bicameral group of lawmakers in talks with the White House over its proposed $1.9 trillion coronavirus relief package.