Press Statement

Press Statement: Appalachians Exasperated by Senator Manchin’s Refusal to Help Provide Relief

By July 20, 2022No Comments


Contact: Contact: Jodi Hirsh,,  412-326-9832




“The people hurt the most by Sen. Manchin’s inaction are the very people he represents. West Virginians need Sen. Manchin to help pass policies so that we can pay the bills and put food on the table.”

APPALACHIAFrom coalfields of southwestern Pennsylvania to the hills of West Virginia, in Appalachia, people look out for each other. Appalachians are hard-working, resilient and kind. Everyone pitches in to make sure their neighbors have the things they need. And they expect the politicians they elect to do the same. 

West Virginians put Senator Joe Manchin in office expecting him to ensure that everyone has the opportunity and the tools to put food on the table, support their families, and keep them safe. But instead, Sen. Manchin continues to put his corporate donors first, leaving hard-working families behind. Every time Sen. Manchin refuses to take action in order to protect his corporate billionaire donors, he makes up a new excuse for not passing policies that will drive down costs. This time, he is claiming “inflation” means he can’t do the very things that would provide working people with much needed relief. 

“Right now, corporations are driving up prices, holding down wages, and refusing to contribute what they owe so that all of us can have what we need,” said Dr. Stephen Herzenberg, PhD, Executive Director of the Keystone Research Center. “These huge businesses are making record profits –  they are not being forced to raise prices to stay afloat. Instead, they’re using the narrative of inflation to excuse their price gouging – making it harder and harder for everyday Americans to afford essentials like food, childcare, transportation, and utility bills.”

Passing policies that ensure corporations and billionaires pay what they owe, create jobs, rebuild infrastructure, and address increasingly damaging climate impacts can help Appalachian families get and stay ahead. Investmenting in workforce supports benefit businesses as well as families, because they allow more adults with children to rejoin the job market. These investments would also speed up growth of good union jobs making materials and products needed to build a sustainable economy. Sadly, Sen. Manchin has obstructed these solutions at every turn.

Said Robin Blakeman, WV Interfaith Power and Light Steering Committee, “The people hurt the most by Sen. Manchin’s inaction are the very people he represents. West Virginians need Sen. Manchin to help pass policies so that we can pay the bills and put food on the table.”

Appalachian families see what Sen. Manchin is doing. Every time he refuses to act, he decides it’s okay for corporate billionaires to pollute local air and water, making West Virginians sick and endangering future generations. But bold climate infrastructure investments – the very ones that Sen. Manchin foils every time he has the chance  – are the antidote both to exorbitantly rising prices and to addressing the fires and floods caused by damage to the climate.

Passing the reconciliation bill would reduce the volatility of gas and heating costs because it would help stop outsourcing, and create a shift to domestic fuel sources. It would address devastating weather-related climate impacts like massive flooding, power outages, and harmful pollution that makes people sick. It would help modernize the grid, so the power doesn’t go out every time it rains hard, spoiling food that took our hard-earned dollars to purchase. 

Said Dana Kuhnline, Campaign Manager for ReImagine Appalachia, “Appalachia has been hit hard both by climate change impacts and global energy shifts. Coal helped Appalachia power the country, and now we need to look to the future by putting our people back to work generating clean, homegrown energy. Appalachian communities need action from Congress. This delay on key climate provisions not only hurts communities struggling with flooding and with job loss due to the downturn of the coal industry, it pushes back other urgent actions we need to see from Congress.”

Reconciliation offers a once-in-a-generation chance to deliver shared prosperity to Appalachia – and the entire United States. It’s time to enact the policies included in the reconciliation bill so that families can not only survive, but thrive.