Progressive Revolt Against Manchin’s Energy Side Deal Could Snarl Government Funding

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Seventy-two Residence Democrats, consisting of numerous board chairs, alerted Residence management Friday not to consent to reduce limitations on brand-new power tasks in the press to maintain the federal government moneyed previous Sept. 30.

The caution was available in a letter arranged by Rep. Raúl Grijalva (D-N.M.), chair of your home Natural Resources Board, as well as adheres to comparable resistance by Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) in the Us senate. With Democrats holding paper-thin margins in each chamber, practically any kind of defections on a momentary financing costs ballot can trigger large troubles.

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“In the face of the existential threats like climate change and MAGA extremism, House and Senate leadership has a greater responsibility than ever to avoid risking a government shutdown by jamming divisive policy riders into a must-pass continuing resolution,” Grijalva stated in a declaration concerning the letter.

“Permitting reform hurts already-overburdened communities, puts polluters on an even faster track, and divides the caucus. Now is just not the time,” he stated.

Grijalva had actually been distributing the letter for weeks. Though it was authorized by several participants of the Congressional Progressive Caucus, 19 of the signatures were not CPC participants, according to a Natural Resources Board agent, as well as 13 endorsers were participants of the pro-business New Democrat Union. The chairs of the Financial Services, Armed Services and Budget committees were among those who authorized.

To keep government agencies open past the end of the government's fiscal year on Sept. 30, Congress must pass at least a temporary funding bill, known as a continuing resolution. Continuing resolutions generally just keep funding at existing levels as well as allow the government to operate through a specific date until a longer-term agreement can be reached. But as must-pass legislation, they can as well as often do become legislative Christmas trees for lawmakers to festoon with other bills that could not pass on their own.

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Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) reached an agreement with Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) in the summer to pass changes in site permitting requirements for new energy projects, including pipelines, in exchange for Manchin's support of the Democrats' big climate and tax law, the Inflation Reduction Act.

But with the IRA now signed and Manchin's leverage gone, Democratic leaders face a tough fight to make good on Manchin's “sidecar” pact, especially after Manchin angered progressives earlier in the process by causing the climate and tax bill to be stripped of most of its social spending. That would make the continuing resolution route more attractive.

On the Senate floor Thursday, Sanders came out swinging against the permitting changes. “I beg of my colleagues that, at this moment, when the future of the world is literally at stake, that we have the courage to stand up to the fossil fuel industry and to tell them, and the politicians they sponsor, that the future of the planet is more important than their short-term profits.”

Manchin said the permitting changes are needed to give time for alternative energy sources to be developed.

“If I thought it was going to be harmful to the planet, I'd never have done it,” he told reporters on Thursday.

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“There's people talking about hydrogen plants, we're talking about small nuclear reactors, we're talking about solar farms, wind farms. But we have to have the fossil horsepower that we need right now to run the country,” Manchin said.

The office of Majority Leader Steny Hoyer, that sets the House floor agenda, declined to comment on the letter. With financing set to last only through Sept. 30, the House has only a handful of working days left in the month ― 10 or 11, depending if there are votes Tuesday ― before they're scheduled to leave Washington as well as hit the campaign trail till the November midterm political elections.

Elderly Press reporter Arthur Delaney added to this tale.

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