Democrat Sen. Joe Manchin’s agreement late last month to back the disingenuously named Inflation Reduction Act came as a shock to Republicans and likely to members of his own party as well.
Up until then, the West Virginia senator had been the one vote standing between the Democrats’ passage of needless and expensive climate change legislation and fiscal sanity.
Then, one day in July, a beaming Manchin joined Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer to announce his support for a $740 billion bill which, contrary to its title, will do nothing to reduce inflation. It will, however, subsidize green energy programs, raise taxes on the middle class, and dramatically expand the size of the IRS.
In order to secure Manchin’s vote, President Joe Biden and Democratic leaders promised to facilitate the approval of a gas pipeline in West Virginia. This would require passage of legislation that would “overhaul the permitting process for energy infrastructure,” according to The American Prospect, a liberal website.
Apparently, progressives in the House are not keen on 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 reported.
The Washington Times reported House Democrats were also angry over being excluded from the negotiations with Manchin.
Thus, they do not plan to honor the agreement.
California Democratic Rep. Jared Huffman, for instance, said he refuses to 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.
In a statement to the Prospect, Michigan Rep. Rashida Tlaib, a Democrat and a well-known pillar of integrity, wrote:
“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. 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.”
— Common Dreams (@commondreams) August 16, 2022
The text of the permitting bill has not been released yet to members of Congress, but it is expected to be “attached to a must-pass government funding bill,” the Prospect reported. Opponents, like Tlaib, want it to be treated as a stand-alone bill that will be voted on separately, and will fail in the House if she and her radical wing get their way.
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
Now 74, Manchin is up for re-election in 2024. If he does run for another term, with this deal he’s risked the wrath of his own state’s voters — who voted for now-former President Donald Trump in both 2016 and 2020.
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.
It can’t do much for his self-respect, either.
How did he not see this coming?
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