We've been saying so for months now, but it looks like Sen. Joe Manchin (D-WV) indeed got screwed over when it comes to agreeing to support the misnamed "Inflation Reduction Act" in return for assurances his proposal for permitting reform would make it into a Continuing Resolution (CR) to fund the government. From the start, fellow Democrats as well as Republicans angered by Manchin agreeing to the bill that has now been signed into law, have opposed it. Ultimately, they weren't the ones to tank it, though. Manchin on Tuesday asked Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) to remove his proposal from the CR, which he ultimately agreed to do.
My statement on the decision to remove the comprehensive permitting reform language from the Continuing Resolution: pic.twitter.com/M0lARzHp8x— Senator Joe Manchin (@Sen_JoeManchin) September 27, 2022
"It is unfortunate that members of the United States Senate are allowing politics to put the energy security of our nation at risk," his statement, which was released to his office website and over Twitter began. Sorry, Joe, but welcome to Washington, D.C.
As his statement continued, Sen. Manchin honed in on Russian President Vladimir Putin. "The last several months, we have seen firsthand the destruction that is possible as Vladimir Putin continues to weaponize energy. A failed vote on something as critical as comprehensive permitting reform only serves to embolden leaders like Putin who wish to see America fail," it also read.
Manchin then shifted to acknowledging his party can't afford a government shutdown. "For that reason and my firmly held belief that we should never come to the brink of a government shutdown over politics, I have asked Majority Leader Schumer to remove the permitting language from the Continuing Resolution we will vote on this evening."
Just earlier this week, Sen. Manchin seemed eager to defend his proposal, the text which had been released last Wednesday. Schumer, with whom the agreement was made in July, had made assurances it would be included in the CR.
Manchin made his case during his appearance on "Fox News Sunday," where he also promoted his op-ed in The Wall Street Journal, "Both Parties Should Support My Permitting-Reform Bill," which was posted later that same day.
On Monday night, the senator's office also directed Townhall to Manchin's interview with Fox News' Neil Cavuto from earlier that day, during which Manchin decried the "politics" involved, as he did in the statement above, especially from Republicans.
Manchin especially should not be surprised about opposition from Republicans, though, who were particularly incensed that his deal with Schumer was not announced until the Senate had already passed the CHIPS Act. House Republicans sought to get back at Manchin by aggressively whipping against that bill, but it ultimately passed that body too and was later signed into law.
The senator was facing opposition from both progressive Democrats, though. House Democrats, led by Rep. Raúl Grijalva (D-AZ), and Senate Democrats, led by Sen. Jeff Merkley (D-OR), sent letters to leadership demanding that Manchin's plan and the CR be separate. It looks like they're indeed getting what they asked for.
While Democrats opposed permitting reform for environmental reasons and Republicans saw a better bill elsewhere, the theme remained the same that Manchin did not make the agreement with them.
This is not the end of the road to permitting reform, though, as even the rest of Manchin's statement acknowledged.
"Over the last several weeks there has been broad consensus on the urgent need to address our nation’s flawed permitting system. I stand ready to work with my colleagues to move forward on this critical legislation to meet the challenges of delivering affordable reliable energy Americans desperately need. We should never depend on other countries to supply the energy we need when we can produce it here at home. Accelerating the construction of energy infrastructure is critical to delivering that energy to the American people and our allies around the world. Inaction is not a strategy for energy independence and security," his statement concluded.
Republicans have their own permitting reform plan, thanks to Sen. Shelley Moore Capito (R-WV), in a bill that was introduced earlier this month.
Whether or not to shut down the federal government, and so soon before the midterms, now appears to be in the hands of House Republicans. A CR must pass by September 30 in order to fund the government.