The Democratic senator, who holds an unavoidable vote, condemned the bill on Sunday. Solar stocks fell precipitously as the market opened on Monday.
In a blow to the roughly $ 2 trillion Build Back Better bill designed to overhaul America’s infrastructure, healthcare, education, climate, immigration, and more, Senator Joe Manchin (D-WV) said he “cannot vote” for the legislation in its current form.
The lockdown came as Manchin cited rising inflation, consumer prices, rising federal debt and the arrival of the Omicron variant of the COVID-19 virus as reasons he would not support the project of law.
Democrats have expressed displeasure with Manchin’s move, saying his negotiations were not in good faith. Bill Biden had been scaled back from initial ambitions to win the senator’s vote. White House press secretary Jen Psaki said the senator’s comments are “at odds with his discussion this week with the president, with White House staff and with his own public statements.”
Manchin’s pullback represents a hurdle for Democrats seeking to pass the legislation, as full Democrat support would be needed to effect reconciliation, a process that bypasses looming Republican obstruction. In recent weeks, Manchin has argued for a price of less than $ 1.75 trillion, down from the current $ 2 trillion design and less than half of the original $ 3.5 trillion design.
Psaki responded to the concerns of Manchin and the Republicans, saying the $ 2 trillion deal would not boost inflation, but rather provide relief. She reiterated that the spending initiated by the bill would be fully funded by changes in fiscal policy, adding nothing to the federal deficit.
The Build Back Better Act would have included a record $ 550 billion for climate action, including domestic manufacturing tax credits solar power, up-front consumer discounts and more.
In a statement on the matter, Manchin’s office said: “Over the past two years, as chairman of the Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources and with bipartisan support, we have invested billions of dollars in clean energy technologies so that we can continue to lead the world in reducing emissions through innovation. But doing it at a faster rate than technology or markets allow will have catastrophic consequences for the American people, as we have seen in Texas and California over the past two years. “
US solar stocks were hit hard by Monday morning’s news. At the time of writing, First Solar has fallen by 8%, Sunrun by almost 7%, and SunPower by about 7%. International solar stocks also took the news harshly, with SolarEdge down nearly 10% and Enphase nearly 7%.
Senate Budget Committee Bernie Sanders (I-VT) said: “[Manchin]… Is going to have to explain to the people of West Virginia why he is rejecting what the world’s scientists are telling us: that we must act boldly and transform our energy systems to protect future generations from the devastation of climate change. “
The White House has said it will continue to negotiate to win Senator Manchin’s vote on the $ 2 trillion proposal.
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