Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) and supporters of his energy permitting reform effort are turning up the heat as the side deal he engineered for his vote on the Inflation Reduction Act struggles to become law.
Manchin on Tuesday blasted what he described as “revenge politics” as Republicans and progressives alike say they want to stop his deal from getting past the finishing line.
GOP senators are sore that they voted for a semiconductor manufacturing bill over the summer after Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) warned they’d oppose that measure if Democrats went forward with their tax, climate and health care bill under a process that dodges a filibuster.
Shortly after the semiconductor bill passed the Senate, Manchin and Senate Majority Leader Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.) announced a surprise deal on their package allowing the massive Democratic bill to move forward.
“I’m hearing that the Republican leadership is upset and they’re saying ‘We’re not going to give a victory to Joe Manchin’ — Joe Manchin’s not looking for a victory,” Manchin said on Tuesday.
“We’ve got a good piece of legislation that’s extremely balanced and I think it’ll prove itself in time. The bottom line is, how much suffering and how much pain do you want to inflict on the American people for the time?” he added.
Progressives in the House also have lingering anger toward Manchin, whose demands torpedoed their efforts for an even larger tax, climate and health care package.
Their opposition now is more centered on the permitting changes for new energy projects desired by Manchin, which they say would hurt the environment and contribute to climate change.
Manchin said that he is talking to both Republicans and Democrats on the issue, saying, “I’ve had conversations with everybody, I always do that.”
Schumer wants to add Manchin’s permitting reform legislation to a must-pass spending bill that has to be approved by Congress by Oct. 1 to prevent a government shutdown.
In the Senate, it appears such a package will need at least 12 Republican votes to get to 60, the number needed to overcome a filibuster. Sens. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) and Ed Markey (D-Mass.) say they will vote against a funding bill that includes the permitting reforms.
On the House side, a group of nearly 80 Democrats are calling for stopgap funding to be separated from the permitting reforms. A few dozen conservative House Republicans also say they’ll oppose any stopgap funding measure that doesn’t continue into next year — when Republicans hope they’ll have new House and Senate majorities.
Many of the progressives opposing the Manchin push, however, may not be willing to shut down the government over the issue.
Schumer insisted on Tuesday that the permitting reform measures would remain in the stopgap funding package, telling reporters, “There’s no reason Republicans shouldn’t support it.”
Meanwhile, Axios reported Friday that White House chief of staff Ron Klain had called Rep. Pramila Jayapal (D-Wash.), the chairwoman of the Congressional Progressive Caucus, to try to convince her to support the bill.
Office of Management and Budget Director Shalanda Young, counselor to the president Steve Ricchetti and legislative affairs director Louisa Terrell have also been in touch with lawmakers, according to the news outlet.
Asked for comment, a White House official told The Hill that senior officials, led by Terrell, are always in contact with Congress on White House priorities, but declined to remark on the specifics.
Politico recently reported that Schumer had also been talking to progressives, including Jayapal.
Asked Tuesday about her conversations with Schumer and the White House, Jayapal said, “We haven’t had any recently. We’re waiting to see what the Senate can do, and we’ll go from there.”
“But I think we’ve made it clear where the caucus is and we’ll just see,” she added.
Rep. Jared Huffman (D-Calif.), who has vocally opposed the permitting deal, also told Politico that he had planned to discuss the issue with Schumer. The conversation was reportedly one of several the Democratic leader had planned in an attempt to sway progressives.
Rep. Raúl Grijalva (D-Ariz.), who has been spearheading the push against the Manchin language, said he was working on scheduling a time to meet with Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) and hoped to meet with her before other officials.
Grijalva also cautioned that any progressive who opines on permitting reform in these meetings may not speak for the entire caucus — which, depending on where Republicans land, could be important, given the small Democratic majority in the House.
“The Senate seems to stereotype that we’re a monolith. We’re not,” he said. “Progressives are diverse and the people who care about this issue are going to continue to care about it.”