After bipartisan rebuff, Manchin abandons private legislative deal to help fossil fuel projects
(AP Photo/Nati Harnik)
WASHINGTON – Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid has had it with former coal mining executive Joe Manchin’s efforts to use his clout in the Senate to help the fossil fuel industry.
But that’s not stopping a group of four Republican senators who have been privately lobbying Manchin and fellow Democrats to back up the coal industry’s case in the Senate on their private energy and climate agenda.
The Senate Republicans and coal industry have been using political donations to buy the Senate.
The New York Times reported Friday that the four Republican senators include Majority Whip John Cornyn of Texas, Majority Whip John Thune of South Dakota, Majority Whip Mitch McConnell of Kentucky and Sen. Shelley Moore Capito of West Virginia.
Three of the senators, Cornyn, Thune and McConnell have received donations from the American Coalition for Clean Coal Electricity, a coal industry front group. One of the senators, Capito, has received a donation from the Competitive Enterprise Institute, a conservative think tank.
All of the senators have received a handful of contributions from the Koch brothers, major supporters of the Tea Party movement that has made life increasingly miserable for Democratic leaders on the subject of climate change.
The Kochs have been trying to build public consensus for their vision of a free market — not the kind of market that the United States is supposed to be. The Kochs have been the most significant source of money to anti-government forces in the years since the Tea Party.
A majority of Americans support the goal of reducing greenhouse gases, but polls show that the issue is dividing Americans by income, party identification and geography. If the Kochs can sway the public in their favor, they will have achieved their goal of making climate change the enemy instead of the solution.
A majority of Democrats have joined Republicans in opposing the Koch brothers because of the climate change connection.
So in the Senate, the Kochs have been trying to