WASHINGTON — U.S. Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., announced Tuesday the Democratic ranking members for the upcoming Congress, which will include Sen. Joe Manchin, D-W.Va., serving as ranking member of the Committee on Energy and Natural Resources.
Manchin has served on the committee since being elected in 2010, but the move as the highest ranking Democrat will likely upset progressives who have argued Manchin will not be a strong enough force when it comes to climate change legislation.
“This committee has a long history of bipartisanship that has helped propel our nation’s energy technology forward. West Virginia is a leading energy producer and major contributor to advanced energy technologies, and I intend to ensure this progress is continued,” Manchin said in a press release.
“The problems facing our country are serious, and I am committed to working with my colleagues on both sides of the aisle to find common sense solutions for long-term comprehensive energy policy that incorporates an all-of-the-above strategy and ensures our state and our nation are leaders in the energy future.”
Discussions about Manchin serving as the committee’s ranking member received blowback from individuals who felt Manchin would not do enough regarding climate change.
Washington state Gov. Jay Inslee, who is considering a presidential run in 2020, called the decision “justifiably disappointing,” criticizing Manchin for his opposition to the 2010 cap-and-trade bill, which Manchin famously shot in a campaign advertisement.
“It’s increasingly clear that leadership on climate change must come from the states,” tweeted Inslee, who also serves as chair of the Democratic Governors Association.
Manchin last week voted against confirming Bernard McNamee to Federal Energy Regulatory Commission for not being serious enough on climate change. Manchin supported McNamee in committee.