Floor Speech

Date: March 1, 2023
Location: Washington, DC


Mr. MANCHIN. Mr. President, I rise today to warn against our administration's unrelenting campaign to weaken our energy security, our national security, and our economic security to advance, truly, their environmental and social agenda.

The ESG rule that we are going to vote on later today is just another example of how our administration prioritizes a liberal policy agenda over protecting and growing--protecting and growing the retirement accounts of 150 million Americans that will be in jeopardy.

Our country is already facing economic uncertainty, record inflation, and increasing energy costs that keep Americans up at night and put a squeeze on their pocketbooks. And we all see it, no matter where you are. Whether it is Georgia or West Virginia, we are feeling the same pain.

The Inflation Reduction Act was written with the primary goal in mind--which has not been at all promoted from our administration. The Inflation Reduction Act was intended to be--and it still is--energy security for our Nation.

If we as a nation are not energy secure, if we have to depend on foreign supply chains, if we are not able to help our allies in need, we will not remain the superpower of the world, and that is what I was concerned about as we worked on the Inflation Reduction Act.

We were going to use all the fossil fuels that we have in America to maintain for the next 10 years energy independence, energy security, and be able to have the supply chain to help our allies, which the EU-- if you want to see the devastating effect of what a war on energy can be, look no further than Ukraine, look no further than the EU, where this happened over there.

So we have talked about this, and we wrote a piece of legislation where we could walk and chew gum at the same time. We could basically invest and produce more oil, produce more natural gas, basically build pipelines that carry the products much safer than rails and roads, which we are seeing so much of the devastation happening by rails right now, which should be alarming to all of us--but basically to do it and do it in a much safer way.

But when people deny--and any denier of any kind, denying the reality of what is needed today, is dangerous. That is what is happening right now.

We have a significant investment in States like mine already that allows us to produce more energy here at home, and that means onshoring our energy supply chains, creating good-paying jobs, helping our economy, and hopefully start working ourselves out of the debt that we have accumulated.

The administration should be our partners in this effort. I have always said this. Government should be your partner, not your provider but your partner. It shouldn't make all your decisions, but it should have guardrails on to make good, sound decisions.

But when they try to basically infiltrate, such as with the ESG, the environmental-social guidance that this bill intends to do, if you don't weigh that with the geopolitical risks that are being taken around the world today that we are involved in, being the superpower of the world and the defender of freedom and democracy anywhere and everywhere in the world--if we don't acknowledge that and allow just one evaluation, I will guarantee it would make for very unsound decisions that will be very harmful.

And again I say, look no further than the EU. The UK has basically thrown all their environmental concerns out the window just to survive. They will burn anything they can get their hands on to keep from freezing, trying to keep their economy going. That is the geopolitical risk when things are topsy-turvy or unraveled, and that is what we are facing.

Instead of the administration basically continuing to take care of every opportunity we have to be energy secure, they are twisting the legislative text and cherry-picking the pieces that they want to advance.

And I have been very, very critical because I have been watching very carefully what is going on.

When you talk about electric vehicles, well, the reason that the Inflation Reduction Act said: Well, if we are going to give $7,500 to advance people buying electric vehicles, then we should get something as a country out of it--that means being totally, totally self- sufficient. We should not have to depend on Russia for 80 percent of the supply of the batteries that run electric vehicles when we never, in the history of the United States of America, relied on any foreign entity or supply chains for us to basically take care of our transportation needs, whether it be automobiles, whether it be trains, planes, whatever.

Now, all of a sudden, we want to switch to electric vehicles, knowing that we don't supply the main ingredients of running an electric vehicle, which is the battery. It makes no sense at all.

So what we said is, basically, you will get a credit of $3,750 if you secure the critical minerals it takes to produce that battery in North America or countries that have a free-trade agreement with America so we have a dependable, reliable supply chain that wouldn't be choked off by a country such as China, Russia, and whether it be Iran, North Korea, those that don't have any--any--relationship to our values whatsoever and do not wish us well, as I would say.

But with that, the other 3,750--that could equal $7,500 for a battery--would be that if the battery is basically manufactured in North America.

Now, what is wrong with bringing these types of jobs in manufacturing? If it is going to be our transportation mode, don't you think we ought to have a dependable supply chain? That is all.

But, no, the Treasury Department has made a decision without even putting the rules and regulations out yet. They just made it on the whims and wishes of what they want to do, after we passed the piece of legislation we voted for. They basically said: OK. Now, we are going to basically allow people to continue to get the $7,500. Well, how can you do that when you have rules and regulations? But they cherry-picked it. They said: OK. We are going to basically say that if your income is less than 150--150,000 or less--or 300 total, then you can qualify for $7,500 if the car itself is within $55,000 or less for a car and if a truck is less than 80,000.

Let me even give you how much more egregious this is, even more than that. They have picked, basically, certain luxury vehicles called SUVs that are not trucks, but they want to classify them as trucks so they can qualify for $7,500 up to 80,000.

That is the kind of crap that we are putting up with right now that was not intended. It was never intended in that bill. It was not written in that bill, but that is how it is being interpreted.

So this is the thing that gets me upset because I know exactly what was in the bill because we had an awful lot of input in that bill to do the right thing for our country. It was energy security, supply chains here in America that we could count on. And it is just crazy. It is against the law, everything that we chose to do and everything we voted for.

The climate goal--I am as concerned as anybody about the climate. Every American, everybody who loves the opportunities in life we have and the quality of life should be concerned but also be a realist.

We are not going to be able to be fossil-free for quite some time, but we can sure use our fossil industry in a much cleaner way, and we have done that with the IRA. We are able to basically have carbon capture sequestration that will take us to another whole venue that we have never seen before. We have methane capturing, which has been harmful from the emission of natural gas. We are capturing all of that now. We are doing everything, but that is not good enough for some people on the far left. Oh, they want to go even further. Just shut it down. Stop it.

And I have said you cannot eliminate your way to a cleaner environment; you can innovate your way to it. And that is where America is going. With the IRA, we are bringing more investments from around the world than ever before. It is a transformational deal if the administration will just do the rules and regulations and administer the intent of the bill--energy security. That is the only purpose that we have, and we can do that and be able to mature the new technology that makes us even much better with our plan. But you can't eliminate something before you have something that will replace it that the American people depend on every day.

And if they are worried about what is happening, I can assure you, I am worried too. China is using more and doubling down on fossil, and India is using more and doubling down on fossil. So if you think they are going to take our lead because we put strangleholds on our economy and our people and make it difficult for us to survive in these very challenging times, I am sorry, that is not happening. This is not what I see the rest of the world doing right now.

We can lead them with the innovation technology we are creating right here in America, but leadership takes leadership. We have to be a leader to have leadership. In America, we have the opportunity, and the Inflation Reduction Act gives us a chance to continue to be a leader and the hope of the world.