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White House defends 'respectful' relationship with Manchin after senator's blistering op-ed

The White House on Thursday downplayed any rift with Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W. Va.) after the senator penned an op-ed in The Wall Street Journal chastising the Biden administration for how it is implementing a key piece of legislation passed last year.

Manchin on Wednesday wrote that he was concerned the Inflation Reduction Act was not being used to pay down the national debt and improve energy security as intended. The senator argued that “the administration seems more determined than ever to pervert that law and abuse existing authorities to increase spending.”

White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre, asked Thursday about the op-ed, said officials have “a respectful, a productive relationship with Sen. Joe Manchin.”

She said the administration is “very proud of the Inflation Reduction Act,” saying it helps promote energy security, invests in manufacturing and reflects the administration’s values.

“We’re going to continue to work with Sen. Manchin on those shared priorities and values, including reducing the deficit and the permitting reform, which are both part of the president’s budget,” Jean-Pierre said. “Again, we are very proud of the work we’ve been able to do with the senator, and I’ll leave it there.”

Manchin, who is among the most conservative Democrats in the Senate, complained at length in Wednesday’s op-ed about how the Biden administration is implementing the Inflation Reduction Act, which passed with only Democratic votes last summer.

The senator claimed the White House is ignoring the law’s intent to expand fossil energy and is instead “redefining ‘domestic energy’ to increase clean-energy spending to potentially deficit-breaking levels. 

“The administration is attempting at every turn to implement the bill it wanted, not the bill Congress actually passed,” Manchin wrote. “Ignoring the debt and deficit implications of these actions as the time nears to raise the debt ceiling isn’t only wrong, it’s policy and political malpractice.”

Manchin and the White House have butted heads repeatedly during Biden’s first two years in office, with the senator raising concerns about government spending and opposing certain administration proposals. Given Democrats holding extremely narrow majorities in the Senate the past two years, Manchin’s vote carries significant weight.

Manchin has not said whether he will run for another Senate term in 2024.

Source: The Hill

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