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Manchin responds to AOC’s criticism of the fossil fuel lobby’s access to the senator: “Simply awful”

Joe Manchin called Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez’s characterization of the senator’s dealings with oil and gas lobbyists “totally false”, while the Democratic senator from West Virginia defended his opposition to a 3-month budget bill. 500 billion dollars with measures to combat the climate crisis.

In a Twitter post on September 2, the New York congresswoman accused Manchin of holding “weekly meetings” with Exxon lobbyists “and is one of many senators who give lobbyists their pen to write so-called “bipartite” invoices on fossil fuels ”.

On Sunday, he denied having held such meetings.

“Absolutely not,” he told CNN. “I keep my door open for everyone. This is totally wrong. Those kinds of superlatives – it’s just awful. Keep dividing, dividing, dividing.

The congressman’s post followed an editorial by Mr Manchin in which he said he would reject the budget bill without first addressing “the severe effects of inflation and debt on programs. existing government “.

Ms Ocasio-Cortez said she was “sick of this ‘bipartisan’ corruption masquerading as lucid moderation” and argued that the influence of oil and gas and black money groups “are destroying our democracy country [and] planet.”

“And we’re supposed to entertain the lobbyists on why we should abandon people [and] do not do anything? No, ”she said.

On Sunday, Mr. Manchin said: “I don’t know this young woman very well. I really don’t. I met her once, I think, between the sets here. But that’s all. So we had no conversation. She’s just speculating and saying things.

He said he was simply opposed to the spending bill “because it makes no sense.”

Pressed by CNN’s Dana Bash to respond to criticism that it is “bought and paid for by corporate donors,” he dismissed the idea.

“You are entitled to your … opinions.” You just don’t have the right to create your own facts to back it up, and that’s exactly what they do, ”he said.

In remarks captured by Greenpeace and published by Channel 4, an Exxon lobbyist said he had regular access to the senator and his staff,

Keith McCoy, senior director of federal relations at Exxon in Washington, called Manchin a “kingmaker” and said “he’s not shy about asserting his claim early and changing the debate completely.”

Mr. Manchin also earned over $ 4.5 million from coal companies he founded in the 1980s and holds stock options in Enersystems Inc – one of the companies he owned. founded – valued between $ 1 million and $ 5 million.

He also worked to defend coal ash – a byproduct of the combustion of residual coal – by passing a bill in 2016 to facilitate state deregulation of toxic materials.

A bipartisan infrastructure spending bill – containing measures to support roads and bridges, high-speed internet and public transportation – was passed by the Senate last month and will be a key vote in the House of Representatives later this month.

Meanwhile, Democrats in Congress are developing a separate $ 3.5 trillion budget bill focused on social spending and measures to tackle the climate crisis and expand health care.

That would require 51 votes in the equally divided Senate, with Vice President Kamala Harris voting to break the tie. Republicans are probably all united in their objection to the measure, and Senator Manchin’s opposition would derail the bill.

Senator Bernie Sanders, who chairs the budget committee and drafts the bill, argued the nation cannot afford to ditch the legislation in the face of worsening crises.

“Working families cannot afford to keep their children, young people cannot afford to go to university,” he told ABC on Sunday. “And then on top of all that, the scientific community tells us that we are witnessing a cataclysmic climate crisis – Oregon is on fire, California is on fire.”

The Independent Gt