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Major Climate Program May Be Nixed From Dems’ Spending Package

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A major program in the Democrats’ push to fight climate change is likely to be removed from their spending plan amid opposition from Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.), according to multiple reports. 

Both The New York Times and CNN reported the likely cut on Friday night, with the Times citing congressional staffers and lobbyists familiar while CNN cited three congressional sources.

The program in question is called the Clean Electricity Payment Program, which would incentivize utilities to shift toward clean sources of energy using a mix of grants and fines.

The proposed measure aimed to cut emissions from U.S. electricity production by 80 percent before the end of the decade. It is considered one of the package’s most important provisions in the effort to mitigate climate change.

Manchin has publicly stated his opposition to the program, saying that since the industry is already moving in that direction, it doesn’t make sense to pay them to do what they’re already doing. He’s also raised concerns about reliability.

Reached for comment on Friday night, Manchin spokesperson Sam Runyon reiterated the concern in an email on Friday night.

“Senator Manchin has clearly expressed his concerns about using taxpayer dollars to pay private companies to do things they’re already doing. He continues to support efforts to combat climate change while protecting American energy independence and ensuring our energy reliability,” Runyon said.

The Times reported on Friday that in response to Manchin’s declared opposition to the White House, White House staffers are now rewriting the bill without the clean electricity measure.

A White House spokesperson did not immediately respond to The Hill’s request for comment.

The Washington Post also reported this week that Manchin had expressed opposition to the White House.

Democrats cannot lose a single vote in the Senate to pass their reconciliation legislation because of the chamber’s 50-50 split.

Read rest at The Hill

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