Manchin Slams GOP, Sanders Alliance Against Fossil Fuel Regulatory Reform
At a Sept. 20 press conference, Sen. Joe Manchin (DW. Va.) slammed Republicans for refusing to side with him on fossil fuels authorizing reform as part of the upcoming funding bill. of the government.
Following the passage of the $700 billion Inflation Cut Act, which was largely negotiated between Manchin and Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (DN.Y.) behind closed doors, he It was revealed that as part of the deal, Schumer had agreed to secure Manchin’s votes for fossil fuel enabling reforms.
Currently, licensing new fossil fuel companies is a years-long process. Manchin called for reforming that process now, as US consumers continue to face high gas prices and Europe braces for a full-blown energy crisis this winter.
“Political Recovery Scheme”
On the face of it, the ability to pass authorization reforms would appear to be in the interests of Republican senators, who have long called for such reforms. However, the minority party has hinted that it will not support any such move under an inescapable continuing resolution, saying it refuses to lend its support to a scheme devised under an agreement in slides between the two leading Democrats.
In one such comment, Sen. Lindsey Graham (RS.C.) said such a bill would be “part of a political recovery plan,” and vowed not to support the move. This attitude appears to be shared by many of Graham’s GOP colleagues.
Opposition from Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), whose opposition to fossil fuels prompted him to oppose Manchin’s proposed measure, also threatens Manchin’s hopes of authorizing the reform.
With Republicans and Sanders rallying against him, it could be difficult for Manchin to push through his demanded reforms if leaders hope to avoid a government shutdown.
At a Sept. 20 press conference, Manchin struck an unusually aggressive tone as he decried the unlikely alliance between Republicans and the leftmost member of the Senate.
Manchin opened the conference with the comment, “The old adage [is] politics make strange bedfellows.
“I have to be honest with you, I’ve been here a long time, and state politics and federal politics,” Manchin continued. “I’ve never seen weirder bedfellows than Bernie Sanders and the liberal far left, siding with Republican leaders. In caucus, I’ve never seen that happen.
The alliance, according to Manchin, is little more than a “politics of revenge” – specifically revenge against himself, Manchin, for backing the Cut Inflation Act after killing the law many more expensive “Build Back Better”.
For Sanders, Manchin acknowledged, “it’s not about me. It’s about something Bernie never did — Bernie never supported anything about allowing reforms.
Instead, Manchin directed much of his comments at Republicans, who have supported Manchin’s proposal so far.
Speaking on US fossil fuel licensing issues, Manchin explained, “If you look at what we’re doing in the US, five to ten years is a minimum. [to get approved for a new fossil fuel venture]. If you basically look at states that have countries that have strong environmental controls, one to three years, one to three years.
Although the issue has long lain dormant, Manchin argued that now is the time for Congress to address it in earnest given the energy price spikes in the United States and the energy crisis in course in Europe which has been exacerbated by oil-rich Russia. invasion of Ukraine.
Speaking on the GOP opposition, Manchin said, “I hear the Republican leadership is upset and they’re saying we’re not going to get Joe Manchin’s victory.”
“Joe Manchin is not looking for a win,” Manchin insisted. “We have good legislation which is extremely balanced. And I think that will prove itself over time. The bottom line is how much suffering and how much pain do you want to inflict on the American people right now, I can basically assure you, the more time passes, the higher the price goes.
USA Energy Cleaner
American energy, Manchin noted in a common refrain for the West Virginia Democrat, is cleaner than energy anywhere else in the world. Seen in conjunction with the unfolding global energy crisis, Manchin argued that it didn’t make sense for Congress not to take action on the issue now.
“We can, and we have the ability, and we have the resources and the know-how to do it more to do it better than anywhere else,” Manchin said. “And we refuse to do that.”
In addition, Manchin argued that his proposed reforms would help reduce inflation by increasing fossil fuel production in the United States, a move that many economists believe is one of the most effective ways out of periods of inflation.
“This type of politics is something that I cannot accept,” Manchin said, concluding his comments. “It’s a type of politics that sickens me and sickens the American public. If we make the American people pay for something we can avoid and change by allowing costs to be reduced and more products to be brought to market and lower your prices Bring more product to market where there will be gas at the pump Or is it going to be at your house and you pay utility bills and help our allies who have a hell of a war for their survival?
“If we can’t live up to this opportunity, God help us all.”
Risk of stoppage
Manchin suggested at the conference that he would be willing to let the government close on the issue if necessary, but insisted it would not be his fault as he would choose to vote for the bill.
Asked if Schumer remains committed to the deal, Manchin indicated he was and also said the White House was on board with the proposal.
To force passage of his demands, Manchin insisted that they be passed as part of an interim spending package.
If the package is not passed by September 30, the government will proceed with a shutdown, an eventuality Manchin said he is comfortable with if his demands are not met.
Meanwhile, some Democrats opposed to fossil fuel concessions have doubled down on their stance.
Don’t get attached to “compulsory legislation”
In a letter distributed to other House Democrats, House Natural Resources Speaker Raul Grijalva (D-Arizona) demanded that the fossil fuel policies Manchin seeks not be included in the continuing resolution. (CR).
“Don’t tie it to a budget, to a CR, to inescapable legislation and therefore take this essential Republican agenda and pass it through the Democrats,” Grijalva told another news outlet before the letter was published.
Theoretically, if part of the House Democrats’ four-seat narrow-majority caucus shares Grijalva’s attitude toward including fossil fuel concessions in a CR, it could pave the way for a government shutdown.
However, months into a midterm season that is expected to be difficult for Democrats, a shutdown is a bad look — and many Democrats might rather just accept the deal than risk it.
In a statement to another outlet, Grijalva insisted he was not, in fact, trying to cause a government shutdown with the request, but instead said he simply wanted the two to be apart.
“It’s not about trying to torpedo anything. It is to say the [CR] and the budget is critical, yes, but let’s do this other one where everyone is responsible,” Grijalva said.
Some other lower house Democrats have reported similar attitudes against the “smoky room” deal.
“If we’re going to streamline permits for critically important projects that help solve the climate crisis, there’s absolutely a conversation to be had and maybe a bill that would help with that, but this framework that’s come out from the smoky room with Manchin and Schumer doesn’t work for me,” Rep. Jared Huffman (D-California) told another outlet.
“You can tell the members ‘if you vote against this you shut down the government’ but most of us are a little smarter than that and we know you can have a backup CR ready to go that funds the government without all the fossil fuel baggage,” Huffman said.
The budding conflict comes against the backdrop of a long-running split between moderate and progressive Democrats that has caused a series of headaches for Democratic leaders, particularly in the House, during the 117th Congress.
Unrest could also arise from Senate Republicans.
Some Republicans have indicated that despite their longstanding support for reducing fossil fuel regulations, the party would not support an interim spending bill if foreign legislation is tied to the package, including legislation requested by Manchin. . Republicans have suggested that’s the price Democrats must pay for their series of partisan packages that passed the 117th Congress without any GOP support or input.
It remains unclear whether the deal will be able to win enough support to pass through both houses of Congress, as elements from both sides have reported frustration with Manchin and the content of the deal.