Speed Reads

don't manchin it

Democrats really don't want Democratic Sen. Joe Manchin to lead the energy committee

Sen. Joe Manchin's (D-W.V.) re-election may have saved a blue Senate seat in a very red state. That still doesn't mean Democrats like him.

As it stands, Manchin is likely to become the top ranking member on the Senate Energy Committee next year due to his seniority. But some high-profile Democrats have mounted a campaign against Manchin, and others are pushing Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) to step up and snag the spot, The Daily Beast reported Thursday.

Despite representing a state that overwhelmingly voted for President Trump in 2016, Manchin's centrism and support for the coal industry preserved his seat. But Manchin's wavering track record on environmental legislation has led two potential 2020 Democrats to oppose his ascent within the energy committee. Washington Gov. Jay Inslee (D) sent an email to supporters Tuesday, alleging Manchin "supports Donald Trump's dirty energy agenda." California billionaire Tom Steyer told The Daily Beast Manchin would not protect the American "right to clean air and clean water." On Thursday, Inslee told The Hill that it's "simply intolerable" to imagine Manchin in the top spot, and he called on Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) to override the seniority rules.

Aligning with Inslee and Steyer, Democrats have "privately" pushed Sanders to drop his budget committee ranking spot for energy, The Daily Beast says. Yet despite his strong stances on environmental policies, Sanders reportedly doesn't want Manchin's position. Current Energy Ranking Member Maria Cantwell (D-Wash.) will likely ascend to a leadership spot in another committee, as will two other Democrats who outrank Manchin. That would leave Manchin — the man who literally shot a piece of climate change legislation in a 2010 campaign ad — as the most powerful Democrat overseeing the Department of Energy.