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Tipsheet

Is the Deal That Schumer Promised Manchin Already Falling Apart?

AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite

Well, it was predicted that this would happen. Less than a full month after it was announced Sen. Joe Manchin (D-WV) came to an agreement with Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) in order to get the misnamed "Inflation Reduction Act" passed, that deal may already falling apart. Such a reveal comes one week after President Joe Biden signed the bill into law.

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The deal that took place between Manchin and Schumer, as well as Biden and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, assured Manchin that there would be a separate method approved that would involve permits for energy infrastructure, including gas pipelines. There would also be new lease sales for oil drilling on federal lands. 

It doesn't seem like everyone is on board, though. As POLITICO reported on Tuesday for Congress Minutes, Sen. Tom Carper (D-DE) says he's "reserving judgement for now." As the headline aptly read, though, "Tom Carper sure doesn't sound sold yet on the permitting deal Chuck Schumer struck with Joe Manchin." 

While Carper's highlighted remarks begin sounding hopeful enough, there's still room for concern. "I’m confident we’ll find some areas where we agree. There will probably be some areas where we don’t agree. I’m not sure the vehicle. I feel confident we’ll do that. ... At the end of the day, I just don’t want us to make the changes in permitting that will undermine our ability to fight climate change," he said. 

A newsletter from Inside Climate News last month explained a whole host of complaints that environmentalist groups had about the agreement. 

The remarks came after Carper presided over a pro forma session that same day. 

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Carper isn't just some random senator, though. He's the chair of the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee. He's also not the only one who is expressing skepticism about such a deal; that comes from both progressives and Senate Republicans, POLITICO highlighted. 

Making the agreement even more high stakes is that Sen. Manchin is threatening to shut down the government if he doesn't get his permitting deal in a continuing resolution (CR). While Republicans have taken heat for threats to shut down the government, now it's a Democrat who is doing so. 

Speaking to West Virginia Metro News on Sunday about the legislation that just became law, Sens. Manchin and Shelley Moore Capito (R-WV) discussed such an agreement:

As part of an agreement between Manchin and Democratic leaders, Congress will consider changes to the permitting process once lawmakers return to Capitol Hill next month. Related legislation will include steps to speed up approval of energy projects as well as the completion of the Mountain Valley Pipeline, a 303-mile system capable of transporting natural gas from West Virginia to southern Virginia once complete. The project has been marred by legal challenges.

Manchin said the language will be in a continuing resolution to fund the federal government for when the new fiscal year begins Oct. 1.

“This is something the Republican Party has wanted for the last five to seven years I’ve been with them,” he said.

“It either keeps the country open, or we shut down the government. That’ll happen Sept. 30, so let’s see how that politics plays out.”

Capito wanted the Senate to consider permitting reform ahead of the vote on the Inflation Reduction Act. During the amendment process on the domestic policy package, she and Oklahoma Republican Jim Inhofe pushed language enacting permitting changes.

“What kind of interest is there in permitting reform?” she said. “I think by stuffing it into a larger bill, I’m not even sure that’s a mechanism that is going to be successful. It’s going to be interesting to see how all of this fleshes out in September.” 

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September 30 is now just a little over a month away. 

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