Vice President Kamala Harris attempted to defend the Biden climate change plan that would cost thousands of jobs, arguing that the administration wants to help jobless West Virginia coal miners transfer their job skills to a new industry — “reclaiming abandoned land mines.”
Harris spoke to West Virginia’s WSAZ-TV and was asked President Biden’s executive order pausing new licenses for oil, gas, and coal extraction on federal lands and waters and the concerns of job losses. The Vice President said Biden believes that solving the climate change crisis and job creation complement each other.
“All of those skilled workers who are in the coal industry and transferring those skills to what we need to do in terms of dealing with reclaiming abandoned land mines; what we need to do around plugging leaks from oil and gas wells; and, transferring those important skills to the work that has yet to be done that needs to get done,” Harris said.
“The president has been very clear that this is not about any existing leases in terms of coal and what we’re doing in terms of oil and coal and federal lands. This is about what we need to do going forward to create more jobs. The president feels very strongly that when we are thinking about saving our environment, when you talk to him about climate change, the first thing that he talks about is job creation,” Harris added.
On Biden’s first day in office, he signed a slew of executive orders that reenlisted the United States in the Paris Climate accord, revoking the Keystone XL pipeline permit that has cost over tens of thousand jobs. Last week, Biden in his executive order frenzy continued his job kill initiative in the name of climate concern by banning energy drilling and putting a freeze on new oil and gas leases on public lands.
West Virginia is one of the states that would be heavily affected by Biden’s push to phase out the fossil fuel industries. The state is known for its coal industry and a major concern to many West Virginians who have seen their state economy boom during former President Trump’s tenure.
Sen. Shelly Moore Capitol (R-WV) slammed Biden’s climate plan, arguing it would paralyze an entire industry.
“In West Virginia, we remember the effects of this playbook originally created during the Obama administration,” Capito told West Virginia MetroNews. “America is a proud energy producer, and paralyzing an entire industry full of high-paying jobs and propping up hostile countries with fewer environmental regulations does little to combat global climate change and creates resentment at home.”
Harris’s interview with the local West Virginia station was intended to promote Biden’s $1.9 Trillion Covid relief package dubbed as the American Rescue Plan. However, neither Harris nor the White House gave the state’s own Senator, Joe Manchin a heads up to discuss the appearance. With the Senate evenly divided at 50-50, Biden needs every single one of Democrats vote to advance his progressive agenda, especially Manchin who is considered one of the most influential moderate senator.
Manchin made his frustration clear regarding the lack of communication from the White House, saying the apparent snub goes against the “unity” pledged both Biden and Harris swore to uphold.
“I saw [the Harris interview]. I couldn’t believe it. No one called me. We’re going to try to find a bipartisan pathway forward, but we need to work together,” Manchin told the same TV station where Harris appeared on over the weekend. “That’s not a way of working together.”
White House press secretary Jen Psaki was asked during Monday’s briefing about the White House snub towards Manchin.
The “circle back” press secretary deflected the questions, saying the White House “have been in touch” with the West Virginia Senator but didn’t give insight as to who had spoken to Manchin.
“We’ve been in touch with Sen. Manchin, as we have been for many weeks and will continue to be moving forward,” White House Psaki said. “Not only is he a key partner to the President and to the White House on this package, but on his agenda and we will remain in close touch with him.”
Psaki also declined to explain the reasoning as to why the White House had Harris do the media interview blitz in West Virginia and whether it was designed to apply pressure on Manchin to back the COVID relief package.
“Our focus is communicating with the American people about how the American rescue plan can help put food on the table, can help ensure we can get vaccines in the arms of Americans, and help send kids back to school,” she said. “That’s our overarching objective with all of the communications we do.”
Harris was also asked by WSAZ reporter as to why West Virginia, many who are Trump supporters should trust the new administration.
“Because we have faith in the American people,” she said. “We ran as Democrats, but we are Americans and we will lead as Americans. We want our country to be strong, we want our country to be healthy, we want our children to thrive, and that’s the bottom line. That’s why we’re doing this.”
While land mines are referred to as underground explosives, Harris’s gaffe didn’t explode the news coverage as they attempted to cover up her lack of knowledge between an IED and the energy sector. Remember this is the party that claims to “believe in science.”