Joe Manchin Tests Positive for Covid as Big Votes Loom on Climate, Same-Sex Marriage

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GettyImages-1237705791_ - Credit: Tom Williams/Getty Images
GettyImages-1237705791_ - Credit: Tom Williams/Getty Images

Sen. Joe Manchin has tested positive for Covid, the West Virginia Democrat announced on Monday.

Manchin tweeted that he is experiencing “mild symptoms” and “will isolate and follow CDC guidelines” as he continues to work remotely. The diagnosis means Manchin may be unable to vote in key legislation Democrats plan to bring to the senate floor before the August recess.  The senate is expected to vote on several major legislative packages in the days before the recess, including a reconciliation package with long-sought climate provisions, and the Respect for Marriage act.

Even if Manchin makes it to vote, he’s been clear that he does not support the climate package.

As a conservative Democrat in a caucus that needs votes from all 50 of its members to get anything done, Manchin used his leverage to delay and whittle down his party’s climate agenda for more than a year. Then, earlier this month, he effectively killed it all together, announcing he’d oppose new climate spending .

With Republicans united in their indifference to the collapsing climate and Manchin — whose personal and political fortunes and both deeply intwined with the coal industry — blocking action, the package seems destined to fail.

If Manchin’s vote matters this week, it may be related to the Respect For Marriage Act, which would codify the right to marry for same sex couples into federal law. Democrats are looking to build enough support to overcome a filibuster, and Manchin indicated last week that while he hadn’t “seen the final print” of the bill he didn’t have a “problem” with the legislation.

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