Joe Manchin Says Biden's Energy Policy 'Spits in the Face of Rural America'

Joe Manchin / Getty Images
January 24, 2024

Sen. Joe Manchin (D., W.Va.) said Tuesday that a proposed green energy policy from President Joe Biden's administration "spits in the face of rural America."

The West Virginia moderate released a statement in response to the White House's proposed guidance for an electric vehicle charging tax credit, which 2022's Inflation Reduction Act established, that included a broad definition of who would qualify.

"The administration just will not stop ignoring the law in pursuit of its radical climate agenda—no matter the cost," Manchin said. "This proposed guidance completely spits in the face of rural America with a brand-new interpretation that makes close to the entire country eligible for a credit that was designed to help drive investment in fueling infrastructure for electric, hydrogen, or natural-gas-powered vehicles in rural and low-income areas where private businesses can’t or won’t invest."

Two-thirds of Americans would qualify for the credit under the guidance, according to a fact sheet the White House put out last week. The credit plans to fund up to 30 percent of the cost of EV chargers for individuals and businesses who want to build them in "low-income communities and non-urban areas."

"This proposed guidance ensures that rural Americans will remain stuck at the end of the investment line, the exact problem this tax credit was supposed to address, choosing to give hand-outs to those that don’t need it while ignoring its responsibility to provide a hand up to rural communities at risk of being left behind," Manchin said. "This proposal is just another example in a long line of this administration’s attempts to force electric vehicles on Americans and spend money that Congress didn’t account for and doesn’t have in the budget."

The Inflation Reduction Act passed with Manchin's support after he negotiated with Biden and reached a compromise on the legislation. Manchin on Tuesday accused Biden of using "administrative interpretation" to "try to make it into the bill they did not pass, rather than the one that was actually negotiated, agreed to, and signed into law."

Manchin in November announced that he would not run for reelection to the Senate in this year's contest. Instead, he said he would be "traveling the country and speaking out to see if there is an interest in creating a movement to mobilize the middle and bring Americans together." The moderate has been the subject of speculation that he could run with centrist group No Labels, which has sought to field a bipartisan third-party presidential ticket.