Sen. Joe Manchin (D-WV) slammed President Joe Biden on Tuesday for killing the Keystone XL Pipeline, noting that the pipeline was a safer way to transport oil and that he would rather get oil from America’s allies than America’s enemies.
Manchin made the remarks when Fox News anchor Bret Baier asked him about comments Republican West Virginia Gov. Jim Justice, who said that Biden’s executive orders on climate were a “knee-jerk” move that is “really going to hurt us.”
“Do you agree with Governor Justice or what happened with the climate change executive orders in the Biden administration?” Baier asked.
“Well, at the bottom-line, I disagree, I respectfully disagree with the president and the executive order on doing away with the Keystone pipeline,” Manchin responded. “I’ve seen a train blow up in West Virginia carrying that crude. I’ve seen tanker cars explode going through towns. It’s much safer in that pipeline than it is coming across the road or the rail. If they think they’re going to stop that product, that’s a heavy crude we need in our refineries.”
“The bottom line is in that, I’m an all-in energy person, Bret, and we have to have energy basically and not depend on foreign energy. So we have to have the heavy crude. I rather it come from Canada than I would from Venezuela,” Manchin continued. “So all of this being said, we’re going to find a pathway forward, but bottom line is, we can do it cleaner. You cannot eliminate your way to a cleaner global environment. You can innovate your way through technology, and that’s what we intend to do.”
TRANSCRIPT PROVIDED VIA FOX NEWS:
BRET BAIER, FOX NEWS ANCHOR: One of the key votes in the Senate joins us right now — Democratic senator from West Virginia, Joe Manchin.
Senator, welcome back to “Special Report.”
SEN. JOE MANCHIN (D-WV): Thanks for having me, Bret, appreciate it.
BAIER: Senator, I want to make clear what happened today. You voted to move the procedure forward on the budget resolution. You didn’t vote for the package itself, the $1.9 trillion, you moved it forward.
You have problems with the $1.9 trillion as it’s written?
MANCHIN: Bret, basically, we know we have a challenge on our hands. We have a pandemic, and we’re not sure what direction this pandemic is going, especially if the variants come into it.
So the need for a pandemic relief is needed. People can decide on what the size of that needs to be. The president has said 1.9, and then my Republican colleagues and friends have taken a different approach.
But at least they started this. And I thought it was a great meeting last night that the president — the first entertainment of any legislatures was 10 of my friends and Republican colleagues who went and spent two hours with the president. That showed a tremendous gesture of goodwill. And now, we just got to find a bipartisan way through.
I voted to start a process, Bret.
BAIER: There’s a big difference here between 1.9 and 600 —
MANCHIN: Yes, there is.
BAIER: — obviously, just on top line. But, as you go into the specifics, the $1,400 stimulus checks — but the big one — are you for raising the minimum wage to $15 an hour?
MANCHIN: Bret, I don’t think that’s going to make it in, because it doesn’t fit within — I know it’s an inside ballgame, but inside the bird rule.
The only thing we can do during this reconciliation is anything that comes within the financial realms of what we’re dealing with. It’s called a budget reconciliation, has to be within the budget lines.
That does not come within that at all. And it really needs to be debated. It doesn’t work — and different states are different. Some states already have $15. I think anybody that goes to work in the morning and works 40 hours a week and works 50 weeks a year, that’s 2,000 hours, should be above — a family of three — above the poverty guidelines — and that’s not $15.
BAIER: Yes, let me put up the Biden coronavirus relief plan, and that’s $1,400 stimulus checks. The $15 an hour, which you’re saying is not going to fall into the rules —
MANCHIN: I don’t think it does.
BAIER: — as they’re written. And also $350 billion in state and local relief. You’re for that?
MANCHIN: Well, we have to look at that. I think that’s way high — from everything I have seen, that’s extremely high.
But with that, we want to make sure that the states that truly have hit — been hit the hardest have revenue shortages because of the type of economy they had, have some relief. We’re very sympathetic toward that.
And, you know, we work together in the $900 billion, 908 team that we put together with Democrats and Republicans and came up with a good compromise, but you had to meet metrics in order to do it. You had to need, you had to show, basically, the coronavirus, how much it attacked your state and, basically, how your economy lost in the population.
So, they’re going to have to prove that they need it, but I don’t think it’ll be anywhere near that.
BAIER: So, if they say, we’re pushing forward with reconciliation, which means not 60, 51 votes —
BAIER: — let’s say they figure out a way to write it where it all fits under the rules — you’re questioning that, but let’s say they do — and they come to you and say, Joe, we need that vote, and it’s $1.9 trillion, are you voting for it?
MANCHIN: What — Bret, what I have told everybody — and I made it very clear from the president of the United States to all of my colleagues — we’re going to make this work in a bipartisan way. My friends on the other side are going to have input, and we’re going to do something that we agree on.
I’m not going to do it just down the lines of just saying party line vote, it has to make sense. And if it’s out of the realm that makes sense and what we’ve worked on together — we’ve built too much trust up among each other to allow this to fall apart.
So, they can count on me to make sure that we do everything to make this bipartisan.
BAIER: So, that sounds like a no if they try to blow it down the line.
MANCHIN: We’re not going to blow it down the line. They can’t do it down the line.
Basically, we’ve got to be able — for those who are defending their numbers, whatever they may be in whatever category, they have to show where it comes from, the sources, and where the need is.
We have to look at basically how much we’ve already spent in those arenas. There’s a lot of money that’s gone out the door, and we all know that.
I didn’t — I wish we would’ve been able to sit down and work through a bipartisan way. They all knew that, they knew where I stood, but I wasn’t going to stand and not allow us to go down a pathway — and they’re going back in history, Bret.
In 2009, they said — I wasn’t here — they tried to work on the Affordable Care Act. They worked eight or nine months negotiating, and then it all fell apart.
We really don’t have that amount of time, if we — it would fall apart. I don’t think it would, but that’s their interpretation of it.
So, I said, fine, we’ll start this process, but I want you to know, I will vote in a bipartisan way.
BAIER: Senate — now Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell said the reason he was going forward with the power sharing deal is because you and Arizona Senator Kyrsten Sinema essentially pledged, publicly, that you would not break up the filibuster, the 60-vote threshold for legislation.
BAIER: Two questions here. One, under what conditions would you vote to end the filibuster?
MANCHIN: I don’t think there is any. You understand, I come from the state that had a senator who served this country unbelievable, but the bottom-line was he was a defender of the Senate. He used to tell me, Bret, he’d say, hey, Joe, he says, when I was governor, he says, let me tell you about the Senate, it’s a special place, there’s nothing like it in the world.
He says, why do you think Rhode Island has two senators and California — the smallest and the largest — why do you think that? Don’t you think our founding fathers were thinking of basically how the big person couldn’t press to the smaller person, why do you think we have the filibuster? So that the minority has input.
I was — this was engrained into me. And he said, Joe, they even named a rule after me, called the Byrd Rule. Do you know what that’s there for, why I put that in? He said, so they couldn’t go around the back door and do away with it.
So, you’re talking about a person that’s going to defend the legacy of Robert C. Byrd.
BAIER: And so, Sinema and yourself, you’re both public, but are there other Democrats you know of that would —
MANCHIN: I sure do.
BAIER: — not vote to bust up the filibuster?
MANCHIN: I think there is, I really do. I think though, just, it’s — they’ll have to speak for themselves, but I have — I’ve had good conversations with a lot of my friends, and I think there’s people that feel exactly like I do.
This didn’t work well in 2013 when Harry Reid did it, and then my — Mitch McConnell did it in 2017, and it hasn’t worked well for anybody, OK? We should work together. That’s the purpose of the Senate, Bret.
BAIER: Yes, let me — but let me ask you this —
BAIER: — the White House politically tried to put a little pressure on you, it seems, having Vice President Harris go to this local station in West Virginia. You said you didn’t know about it. Have you talked to them since that? Did they make a mistake by doing that?
MANCHIN: Absolutely they made a mistake, and it shouldn’t have been done. But a mistake was made, and we’re going to make mistakes. (Inaudible) says, to err is human. We’re human beings.
But with that being said, I have spoken to the president about that, and I have spoken to his — some of his top officials, and I understand. A mistake was made. It should not have been done.
BAIER: You know, today at the White House, Jen Psaki pointed to West Virginia Governor Jim Justice and said that he’s for a big package, as far as COVID relief. What they don’t talk about, though, is the other part of that interview from Governor Justice, and here’s a little piece of that about climate change.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
GOV. JIM JUSTICE (R-WV): If you want civilization to advance, today we need clean energy, and I’m all for it. But we just have to have a strategy rather than a knee-jerk, and that’s what we have going on right now, and it’s going to backfire — it’s really going to hurt us.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BAIER: Do you agree with Governor Justice or what happened with the climate change executive orders in the Biden administration?
MANCHIN: Well, at the bottom-line, I disagree — I respectfully disagree with the president and the executive order on doing away with the Keystone pipeline.
I’ve seen a train blow up in West Virginia carrying that crude. I’ve seen tanker cars explode going through towns. It’s much safer in that pipeline than it is coming across the road or the rail. If they think they’re going to stop that product, that’s a heavy crude we need in our refineries.
The bottom-line is in that — I’m an all-in energy person, Bret, and we have to have energy basically and not depend on foreign energy. So we have to have the heavy crude. I rather it for — come from Canada than I would from Venezuela.
So all of this being said, we’re going to find a pathway forward, but bottom-line is, we can do it cleaner. You cannot eliminate your way to a cleaner global environment. You can innovate your way through technology, and that’s what we intend to do.
And in West Virginia, we’ll build the new technology that the rest of the world can clean up the environment. This is — should be an opportunity, there’s transitions going on.
BAIER: Are you — I have ten seconds here, Senator —
MANCHIN: Sure thing.
BAIER: — are you the most powerful person in Washington?
MANCHIN: Let me tell you something. I’ve seen people who thought they had power and abused it. I’ve seen the people that desired power and abused it. And I’ve seen people that had an opportunity to be in a situation where you could make a difference, and I hope I’m that person to make a difference to bring our country together and start healing.
BAIER: Senator, you’re always welcome — you’re always welcome back here on “Special Report.” We appreciate the time.
MANCHIN: Thanks, Bret. Nice to be with you.