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Tipsheet

The Agreement Manchin Was Promised Continues to Unravel

AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite

It's looking to truly be a week of "we told you so" for Sen. Joe Manchin (D-WV) when it comes to the deal he was promised in order for going along with the misnamed and since signed into law "Inflation Reduction Act." On Tuesday, it was revealed that Sen. Tom Carper (D-DE), who serves as the chairman of the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee, is "reserving judgment." Now there's resistance from the House as well. 

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As Rachel Frazin reported for The Hill on Friday morning, Rep. Raúl Grijalva (D-AZ), who chairs the House Natural Resources Committee, is circulating a letter to leadership requesting that they separate the deal made with Manchin out of the continuing resolution (CR) which must be passed by September 30 to avert a government shutdown. 

The deal with Manchin, which he made with not just Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) but House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) and President Joe Biden, calls for permits for energy infrastructure, including gas pipelines. There would also be new lease sales for oil drilling on federal lands. 

Manchin had also told West Virginia Metro News that "This is something the Republican Party has wanted for the last five to seven years I’ve been with them." He also made clear "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."

In a statement to The Hill earlier in the month, Rep. Grijalva also acknowledged that it has Republican support, but as a negative connotation. "Don’t attach it to a budget, to a CR, must-pass legislation and therefore take this essential Republican agenda and have Democrats pass it," he said. 

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Rep. Grijalva also denied he was the one seeking a government shutdown, which would be quite bad for the Democrats. This year it's especially pressing, since September 30 is a little more than a month before the November midterms, and Democrats are trying to but are unlikely to hold onto their narrow majority, at least in the House. 

As Frazin highlights:

That sets up a potential shutdown crisis if progressives block a funding bill over the inclusion of the permitting reform language and Democrats can’t find the votes elsewhere. 

Democrats do not want to shut down the government months before the midterm elections, so an actual shutdown is highly unlikely.  

Grijalva acknowledged that it would likely be difficult for many members to vote against funding the government. 

“This is not trying to torpedo anything. This is saying the [continuing resolution] and the budget is critical, yes, but let’s do this other one where everybody is accountable,” he said.

While Grijalva’s office declined to say Thursday how many lawmakers are signing his letter, at least a few others have signaled resistance to the deal.  

“If we want to streamline permitting for critically important projects that help solve the climate crisis there’s absolutely a conversation to be had and maybe a bill that would help with that, but this framework that came out of the smoke-filled room with Manchin and Schumer doesn’t work for me,” Rep. Jared Huffman (D-Calif.) told The Hill.  

He also argued the standoff likely wouldn’t cause a shutdown, suggesting a clean measure known as a continuing resolution or “CR” could be approved to fund the government.  

“You can tell members ‘if you vote against this you’re shutting down the government,’ but most of us are a little smarter than that and we know that you can have a backup CR ready to go that funds the government without all the fossil fuel baggage,” Huffman said.  

If progressives do make a stand, it will complicate life for House Democratic leaders.  

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Especially when faced with a government shutdown, it's a possibility that Democratic leaders could turn their backs on Manchin. "Democratic leaders would face a difficult choice between passing a clean continuing resolution and potentially angering Manchin; convincing their own members to shed their environmental concerns and back the Manchin side deal; or leaning on GOP votes to prevent a shutdown," Frazin also writes.

If leadership ends up screwing over Manchin, a very likely possibility, it won't be just him who suffers over getting played. The "Inflation Reduction Act," will raise taxes for lower- and middle-class Americans and, as Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) and Manchin himself even admitted, it wont do much to actually immediately help inflation. Experts warn, in fact, it will make it worse

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