Background Briefing: December 20, 2021


Manchin’s Death Blow to the Biden Agenda is Not About Cost But About Stopping Alternative Energy

We begin with Senator Joe Manchin as Shakespeare’s Brutus delivering the death blow to Biden’s Build Back Better program and speak with James Van Nostrand, Director of the Center for Energy and Sustainable Development and a Professor of Law at West Virginia University College of Law. He has represented energy clients in state regulatory proceedings in eight states, as well as proceedings before the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission and joins us to discuss how Manchin’s main priority is to keep the dying coal business and his own family’s coal business alive and that his appearance on Fox to announce his objections to the bill based on its cost, is a distraction from his real purpose which is to kill Biden’s alternative energy proposals in order to ensure the nation keeps burning coal, one of the worst sources of global warming gas emissions. 


Manchin Criminalizes Poverty Claiming Child Tax Credits Used to Buy Drugs

Then, with reports that Manchin has characterized poor families who get the Child Tax Credit as using the taxpayer’s money to buy drugs, we speak with Karen Dolan, the Director of the Criminalization of Poverty and Race Project at the Institute for Policy Studies. She joins us to discuss how the efforts by Republican state legislatures to add drug testing to the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families program have largely been abandoned because of so few cases with only 131 applicants having tested positive for drugs in West Virginia since 2017.


A Nobel Laureate Who Signed a Letter Urging Biden to Cut the Nuclear Arsenal

Then finally we speak with one of the authors of a letter signed by 700 scientists and engineers including 21 Nobel Laureates, urging President Biden to use the forthcoming Nuclear Posture Review as an opportunity to cut the U.S. nuclear arsenal by a third and make the change in the sole authority to launch nukes as “an important safeguard against a possible future president who is unstable or who orders a reckless attack.” Joining us is Barry Barish, the Linde Professor of Physics Emeritus at the California Institute of Technology and the 2017 winner of the Nobel Prize in Physics. He was given a Presidential appointment and served on the National Science Board which oversees the National Science Foundation and advises the President and the Congress on policy issues related to science, engineering, and education.