OPINION: This article may contain commentary which reflects the author’s opinion.
Sen. Joe Manchin surprised many in the GOP and his own Democratic Party when he announced a deal with Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) last month on a new ‘green’ energy spending package.
The West Virginia moderate had been, until that point, one of two members of the Senate — the other being Sen. Kyrsten Sinema (D-Ariz.) — who had largely held the line against massive spending bills their party had sought as part of President Joe Biden’s agenda.
So when he announced that he agreed to a $750 billion package negotiated with Schumer, that sent shockwaves through both parties.
Subsequent reports following the agreement explained that Schumer had secured Manchin’s approval by pledging that the party would support the construction of a natural gas pipeline in the West Virginia Democrat’s home state, but now, the party appears on the verge of reneging on Schumer’s promise.
In order to facilitate the construction of the pipeline, it would require the passage of additional legislation that would “overhaul the permitting process for energy infrastructure,” according to The American Prospect.
But, far-left members of the Democratic Party in the House are not on board with supporting a measure that “could undercut the IRA’s down payment on clean energy by accelerating approval for energy projects that could ramp up U.S. fossil fuel production and exports of natural gas,” The American Prospect added.
In other words, it looks like Manchin was bamboozled into agreeing to another massive spending bill that economists and experts say will do nothing to actually reduce inflation but will raise taxes on the middle class while significantly expanding the size of the Internal Revenue Service.
The Washington Times also reports that House Democrats are miffed they were excluded from the negotiations led by Schumer. Rep. Jared Huffman, for example, has said he won’t be “steamrolled into a bunch of fossil fuel giveaways just because Manchin cut a deal in a closed room with Chuck Schumer,” the Times reported.
“Handshake deals made by others in closed rooms do not dictate how I vote, and we sure as hell don’t owe Joe Manchin anything now,” Rep. Rashida Tlaib (D-Mich.), a member of the left-wing ‘Squad’ in the House, added. “He and his fossil fuel donors already got far too much in the IRA … and we will vote this dirty deal down, one way or another.”
That said, the party’s far-left faction may not have much choice. While the text of the permitting bill has yet to be released to Congress, it will most likely be “attached to a must-pass government funding bill,” according to the American Prospect. Tlaib and other opponents, however, want the permitting bill to be stand-alone legislation which, if it is, will likely fail in the House.
The Western Journal observes:
All of this must come as a rude awakening to Manchin who surrendered his reputation for honesty and fairness only to be sold out by members of his own party.
Manchin not only voted for the so-called Inflation Reduction Act, he introduced it. With an earnest look on his face, he repeatedly tried to convince the American people that the IRA will actually reduce inflation when he knows it will do nothing of the kind. Even Democrats call it a climate and healthcare bill — now that it’s been signed into law.
— BB (@bbcolorado) August 20, 2022
Manchin is up for reelection in 2024; the other West Virginia senator is Shelly Capito, a Republican, and the state voted for Donald Trump overwhelmingly twice. “The prospect of getting rolled after reaching a deal with Chuck Schumer to advance Democratic climate-change priorities isn’t going to help him in that kind of environment,” The Western Journal surmised, adding: “It can’t do much for his self-respect, either.”
For his part, in late July, Manchin would not commit to supporting Biden in 2024.