Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.), a moderate Democrat, on Friday said he opposed providing $2,000 stimulus checks, putting him at odds with President-elect Joe Biden.
“Absolutely not. No,” Manchin told The Washington Post in an interview published Friday. “Getting people vaccinated, that’s job number one.”
“How is the money that we invest now going to help us best to get jobs back and get people employed? And I can’t tell you that sending another check out is going to do that to a person that’s already got a check,” he said.
Later Friday Manchin said in a tweet that if checks do go out, they should only go to the neediest.
“If the next round of stimulus checks goes out, they should be targeted to those who need it,” he wrote.
Earlier this week, Biden said if Raphael Warnock (D-Ga.) and Jon Ossoff (D-Ga.) were elected it would allow the Senate to approve the $2,000 stimulus checks that Democrats have been trying to pass with the recent budget.
“Their election would put an end to the block in Washington on that $2,000 stimulus check, that money that will go out the door immediately to people who are in real trouble,” Biden said Monday at a campaign rally in Georgia.
Manchin, the ranking member of the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee, is one of the senators that broke from other members of his party who were calling for progressive policies like the Green New Deal.
With the wins in Georgia, Democrats are now poised to be in control of which laws are enacted, with a tie of 50-50 and the vice president breaking any deadlock in votes.
In 2019 Manchin, from the coal-heavy state of West Virginia, voted against the Green New Deal, although his party had passed it in the House.
In a press statement after the vote he said: “While I appreciate the renewed conversation around climate change that the Green New Deal and its supporters have sparked, I think we need to focus on real solutions that recognize the role fossil fuels will continue to play. That’s why I voted against the resolution today.”
Democrats say the Green New Deal aims to improve the environment by bringing U.S. greenhouse gas emissions down to net-zero and meet 100 percent of power demand through renewable and zero-emission energy sources by 2030.
Republicans say the deal would create $2 trillion worth of debt, abolish fossil fuels, and ban fracking, which they say would cost hundreds of thousands of American jobs across the heartland.
Now with Democrats controlling the House of Representatives, the Senate, and the White House, it is more likely that many progressive bills will pass unless senators like Manchin vote with Republicans.
Opposing the Green New Deal along with Manchin were Sens. Kyrsten Sinema (D-Ariz.), Doug Jones (D-Ala.), and Angus King (D-Maine).