Sen. Joe Manchin and Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer reached an agreement for an oil-and-gas permitting bill in return for West Virginia senator’s support of the White House’s $739 million climate change spending and tax increase. However, the deal is now in doubt as progressives claim they aren’t bound by any agreement and vow not to oppose it.
Critics claim that Manchin lost leverage to pass the permitting bill through Congress by helping Democrats pass the Inflation Reduction Act first through a party-line process called budget reconciliation.
Mooney is being considered a potential challenger to Manchin’s 2024 re-election.
Shortly after Biden was elected, Democrats began work on the reconciliation bill. The legislation, originally called Build Back Better was intended to be a bold overhaul of the nation’s economy and climate infrastructure.
Manchin was concerned that the bill would increase inflation and so the 50-50 Senate killed the original version of the bill. After receiving enough concessions from Schumer, the West Virginia Democrat changed course and lowered the bill’s initial $3.5 trillion cost.
Manchin was also given a commitment by Schumer that he would pass legislation before September to streamline the permitting process for drilling for oil and natural gas.
The bill would establish timelines for environmental agencies to conduct reviews of proposed projects. The federal government would be required to hold additional leasing auctions to obtain the right to drill on federal lands.
The biggest prize for Manchin in the deal is the provisions of the expected bill which would allow approval of a natural-gas pipeline that runs more than 300 miles through Virginia, West Virginia, and West Virginia. The Mountain Valley Pipeline, worth $6.6 billion, was completed in 2014. It is now almost 90% complete. However, it has been stalled by environmental lawsuits.
However, Progressive House Democrats disagree. Manchin’s desire to pass a permitting bill threatens any climate benefit from the Inflation Reduction Act, according to the Democrats.
Tlaib and other members of the 98-member Congressional Progressive Caucus have pledged to vote against the permit bill if it is up for a vote at the House. It could prove costly, as Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) can only lose four Democrats on any bill before she has to rely on Republicans.
Progressives also warn House Democratic leaders not to try to incorporate the permitting bill in a larger legislative package. They insist that the measure should stand alone if it is brought to the House floor.
The permitting bill is not being favored by far-left lawmakers. Some Senate Republicans feel their votes are not secure, particularly after Manchin joined with other Democrats to push Biden’s climate and tax agenda.
Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) stated that 60 votes is not enough to obtain the sweeteners needed for reconciliation.
The nonpartisan Joint Committee on Taxation (JCT), revealed late last month that the Inflation Reduction Act would raise taxes by billions of dollar, even on middle-class earners.
The Senate will have to approve the permitting bill because it was not included in the larger reconciliation package. It will require at least 60 votes for passage. Manchin’s precarious position has been criticized by the GOP for his inability to make deals.