WASHINGTON — sen. Joe Manchin railed Tuesday at what he called “revenge politics” as liberals in the House and Senate work with Republicans to oppose his plan to accelerate permits for natural gas pipelines and other energy projects.
Manchin, a West Virginia Democrat who chairs the Senate Energy Committee, has received a commitment from President Joe Biden and Democratic leaders to include the permit package in a state funding contingency plan in exchange for his support of a landmark bill to curb climate change.
But in the weeks since Biden signed the so-called Inflation Reduction Act last month, Democrats and environmental groups have lined up to oppose the permitting plan, calling it bad for the country and the climate. Climate hawks like Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders and Massachusetts Sen. Ed Markey, along with dozens of House members, say the licensing plan should be excluded from the spending bill to pass.
Many Republicans agree. Wyoming Sen. John Barrasso, the top Republican on the Senate energy panel, called the licensing deal a “political reward” for Manchin, whose vote on the climate bill was crucial to the bill’s passage.
Manchin’s actions on climate – including secret negotiations with Senate Leader Chuck Schumer, DN.Y. – “caused a lot of bad blood” among Republicans, R-Texas Senator John Cornyn told reporters. “There isn’t much sympathy on our side in giving Senator Manchin a reward.”
At a news conference Tuesday, Manchin expressed his dismay at such sentiment, saying he has “never” seen such an example of “revenge politics” with Sanders and the “extreme liberal left siding with the Republican leadership” to rally around. oppose his plan.
“It’s revenge on one person – me,” Manchin said.
“I hear the Republican leadership is upset,” he added. “They’re not going to get Joe Manchin a win. Well, Joe Manchin isn’t looking for a win.”
Sanders responded on Twitter on Tuesday and was defiant.
“Beating the Big Oil side deal is not about revenge,” he said. “It’s about whether we will stand with 650 environmental and civil rights organizations that understand the future of the planet is with renewable energy and energy efficiency not adopting the Mountain Valley Pipeline,” a near-completed natural gas pipeline from the North West Virginia to the south Virginia Manchin’s plan would accelerate the pipeline and send legal challenges to another federal court.
While the legal text of his permit plan has not been made public, Manchin called the bill “a good piece of legislation that is extremely balanced” and “does not circumvent any environmental assessment.” Instead, it would speed up a time frame of up to 10 years before a major project is approved.
sen. Shelley Moore Capito, RW.Va., has released a similar plan that would speed up environmental permits, but Manchin said his plan should have broader appeal as it would streamline environmental assessments for renewable energy projects and fossil fuels. Manchin’s plan has the support of Biden and other Democratic leaders.
But a letter signed by more than 70 House Democrats condemned the proposal as a “dirty side-deal negotiated behind closed doors, outside the proper government process, and outside the view of our families and communities it will deeply affect.”
If passed, “this deal will only make it easier for the fossil fuel industry to establish polluting projects in our communities and continue the industry’s practice of concentrating destructive pollution projects in communities of color and poor communities,” the letter said. led by House Natural Resources Chairman Raul Grijalva of Arizona.
The divide between Democrats could hinder the party’s efforts to focus on this summer’s big legislative victories, including the climate bill and a separate bill to boost the semiconductor industry and create more high-tech jobs in the United States. on the way to the midterm elections to determine which party controls the House and Senate.
More directly, the gap is testing the ability of Schumer and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi to keep enough Democrats in line to avoid a partial government shutdown at the end of the month.
Schumer has said he will attach Manchin’s proposal to the emergency financing bill, a promise Manchin said Tuesday he expects Schumer to keep.
The permit plan “will be in the” financing bill to avoid a government shutdown on Sept. 30, Manchin said. If opponents are willing to shut down the government “for a personal attack on me, this is what makes people sick of politics,” he added. “It makes me sick.”
House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer, D-Md., did not immediately answer whether Manchin’s permit proposal would make it more difficult to pass the government’s financing bill, known as a rolling resolution.
“We are going to pass the CR and we will be here as long as it takes,” Hoyer said on Tuesday.
UK Time News writer Kevin Freking contributed to this report.