Manchin Emerges as Possible Pick for Energy Department

Manchin Emerges as Possible Pick for Energy Department

In theory, if Manchin were to head the Energy Department, the Republican governor of West Virginia, Jim Justice, would be able to appoint a Republican senator, bringing the Senate closer to fulfilling President Donald Trump's agenda. The idea is in the early stages of consideration, and it's unclear whether it has support within the administration, according to the people, who described the conversations under condition of anonymity.

A spokesman for Manchin declined to say whether the senator would take the Energy secretary job - now held by former Texas Governor Rick Perry - if offered.

When spokesman for Manchin, Jonathan Kott, was reached by Bloomberg, he declined commit to an answer.

Manchin, who was briefly considered for Secretary of Energy, is up for reelection in 2018 in a state that had voted for Trump in the 2016 USA presidential election by a wide margin. "He remains committed to serving the people of West Virginia", Kott said.

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Perry, the current Energy secretary, has also been floated as a possible replacement for former Homeland Security Secretary John Kelly. Perry was an animal science major at Texas A&M, and he advocated abolishing the department during his own presidential bid.

With an annual budget of about $30 billion, the Energy Department's work ranges from safeguarding nuclear weapons to the research into carbon-capture technology and maintaining the Strategic Petroleum Reserve. A repeal and replace bill failed by one vote last month after three Republicans voted against it.

Moreover, Manchin would face intense pressure from fellow Democrats not to leave the Senate and bear some personal responsibility for a repeal of the Affordable Care Act.

The Trump administration has said revitalizing American fossil fuel industries, including West Virginia's dwindling coal sector, is a key goal.

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