Congress

Oh Good, Now We Know What Joe Manchin Wants, Maybe. And It's AWFUL.

Dok is Mad About A Thing.

One of the recurring mysteries getting in the way of progress on the Build Back Better reconciliation bill is that nobody really knows what exactly the the two Democratic holdouts, Senators Joe Manchin and Kyrsten Sinema, are holding out for. They've both been extremely coy about not saying in public what top-line amount of spending they could vote for, other than "Not $3.5 trillion over 10 years."

Now, last night, Manchin did release that screed about the "fiscal insanity" of spending lots of money on social programs while raising taxes on the wealthiest Americans to pay for it, but even that wasn't terribly specific about changes he might want to make to the reconciliation package beyond insisting Congress should wait and see whether poor people stop being poor, and also we should means-test any new benefits to make sure the middle class won't support the bill since it's frozen out of getting any help.

As for Sinema, she's been even less clear. Asked whether the rest of the Democratic caucus knows where she is, she hilariously said "I'm clearly right in front of the elevator" because she's the second coming of goddamn John "turn left at Greenland" Lennon.

Today, however, Politico reports it has dredged up a copy of a July 28 document that it says Manchin has been handing to Senate colleagues who want to know what his own position on reconciliation might be, if he'd be so kind. It's a brief outline of some fairly radical changes he'd like to make to Biden's first-term agenda, like slashing most of it. Look at this shit, would you just LOOK AT IT:

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climate change

Climate Vs. Jobs? Ford And Its New $11.4 Billion EV And Battery Plants Say STFU.​

Also 11,000 new jobs in Kentucky and Tennessee.

Ford Motor Company announced yesterday that it's partnering with South Korean energy firm SK Innovation to build two new factories in Tennessee and Kentucky to manufacture electric vehicles and the batteries that go in 'em. The two complexes — wait, they're "hubs!" — will employ some 11,000 workers total when they open in 2025.

The Detroit News reports the plant in Tennessee, to be called "Blue Oval City," will manufacture Ford's new electric F-series pickups in a

"vertically integrated ecosystem" consisting of a vehicle assembly plant, a battery plant jointly operated by Ford and SK, as well as facilities for suppliers and battery recycling operations. Ford says the new assembly plant will be carbon neutral with zero waste to landfill when it's fully operational in 2025.

Ford says it will be "among the largest auto manufacturing campuses in US history."

Ford and SK will also construct two battery factories in Kentucky, which will produce batteries to be used in Ford and Lincoln EVs built at other assembly plants around North America. An industry insider we just made up right now said the Kentucky and Tennessee sites were "chosen deliberately to fuck with Doktor Zoom," who can never keep the two states straight.

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Nice Time

Illinois Did Its Very Own Green New Deal!

This is kind of huge!

If you want to take the risk of getting a little optimistic about the prospects of getting this crazy world through the climate emergency, take a look at the latest edition of David Roberts's "Volts" newsletter, which is pretty much a green nerdy love letter to the ambitious new climate bill that the state of Illinois just enacted. Gov. JB Pritzker signed the state's Climate and Equitable Jobs Act on September 15, and Roberts, who knows his climate legislation, says it's "one of the most environmentally ambitious, worker-friendly, justice-focused energy bills of any state in the country," and makes Illinois the first state in the Midwest to commit to reaching net zero carbon emissions.

It's not just a really good bill; it was also passed through a process that other states should look to in their own climate plans, bringing a whole bunch of very diverse stakeholders into the negotiations. In fact, only one major stakeholder — the state's biggest electric utility — wasn't at the table, and that may have made a huge difference:

Exelon subsidiary ComEd had been caught up in a bribery scandal that left it disempowered and weak, under a deferred prosecution agreement. The scandal also led to House Speaker Michael Madigan, a reliable utility ally, being removed from his position.

Utilities were, to put it crudely, on the shit list, allowing political leadership to restrain their historic (and largely counterproductive) influence.

It remains to be seen whether the Illinois example will lead climate activists to urge their states' biggest carbon polluters to please get caught taking bribes; perhaps it would be enough to simply do everything possible to keep them from bigfooting states' climate plans.

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climate change

Joe Manchin Ain't See Why You'd Rush To Keep Planet 'Habitable' And 'Not On Fire'

We'll eventually get to clean energy, and if we lose a species here, an ecosystem there, that beats deficits.

Sen. Joe Manchin (D? West Virginia) said on CNN Sunday he's opposed to a central part of his party's plan to transition the US to a green energy economy, because he figures the energy market will get us there sooner or later anyway anyhow. On CNN's "State of the Union," Manchin told host Dana Bash that he's not going to support the $3.5 trillion Build Back Better reconciliation bill unless its overall price tag comes down, although he refused to say how much spending he would support. Manchin also said that while he supports higher taxes on the rich and on corporations, that level of taxation can't be so high that it leaves all the rich corporations so sad that they can no longer find any joy in creating jobs, either. He said "globally competitive" a lot.

For the most part, it was typical Manchin: No, I don't like all this spending, what about the deficit and inflation, let's just put the president's agenda on hold for a while and see how the economy does, and so on. While he was at it, Manchin also said for the first time that he opposes spending aimed at speeding America's transition toward clean electric generation.

This is because Manchin can't be happy with being an obstructive prick in general; he has to be an obstructive prick about slowing down the move away from a fossil fuel economy. We suspect the man may actually be composed of 30 percent coal. (But there's no way to know, since his coal company is in a "blind trust." For all we and he know, it's a llama farm now!)

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