Manchin Offers Praise To Biden Over Energy Success 

In a change of tone, Senator Joe Manchin praised the Biden administration recently for all the great work it’s done in regard to the energy sector.

As the country has experience high levels of production in energy, Manchin — the moderate Democrat from West Virginia who isn’t running for reelection — praised the policies the Biden administration has passed.

In an op-ed that was published in the Washington Post, Manchin wrote:

“I want to congratulate President Biden for the record-breaking energy production we are seeing in America today. The United States is producing more oil, gas and renewable energy than ever before.”

The op-ed seems a little out of placing, considering that policies that presidents enact often don’t have much impact at all on total oil production in the U.S. As media outlet The Hill points out, this is because much of the drilling in America happens on privately-owned land by private companies, meaning that market forces are a bigger driver of the production of fossil fuels.

Yet, Manchin wrote that energy legislation passed during the Biden administration has helped substantially, specifically the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law as well as the Inflation Reduction Act.

The infrastructure law included significant investments in the country’s electric grid, as well as bolstered a program that speeds up the process for approving energy projects.

The IRA, meanwhile, provided tax credits for alternative and renewable energy sources, while also requiring the Biden administration to continue drilling for oil and gas in waters and on public lands if they also wanted renewables to be produced there.

In his op-ed piece, Manchin wrote that the White House should tout carbon-free energy and the high production of oil and gas. As he wrote:

“It seems some of the president’s radical advisers in the White House are so worried about angering climate activists that they refuse to speak up about these accomplishments.”

Manchin does make a good point here. A significant part of Biden’s base of supporters doesn’t in any way support the U.S. increasing its production of oil and gas. 

At the same time, many of his opponents blast the White House’s energy policies as not going far enough to promote the production of oil and gas. As such, if Biden were to tout the fact that the production of these fossil fuels is up, it could actually hammer down some of that criticism — even if it did anger environmental activists.

Manchin’s piece seemed to try to sway Biden to shift further to the right on energy policies. The West Virginia senator, who’s constituents are big in the energy sector, has often opposed the White House’s policies that have paused approvals for new gas exports.

In the past, he’s also criticized how the Biden administration has broadly interpreted the tax credits that are available under the Inflation Reduction Act.

For a while there, Manchin could be seen as trying to attract attention, as he was considering a third-party run for president. But, since he’s announced that he won’t seek the White House in 2024, he doesn’t have much political motivation to make noise.