Senator Joe Manchin, who has knifed BOTH SIDES, has gotten his just desserts as BOTH SIDES just knifed his pet project to “update” (read: gut) energy permitting regulations. Now generally speaking, Republican love to gut regulations and few more so than energy, but you know: REVENGE.
Tiger Beat on the Potomac (thanks Charlie) morning email thingie:
MANCH GETS MITCHED — He’s been the de facto decision-maker for the Senate Democratic majority, but after a week of holding the line, Sen. JOE MANCHIN had to admit defeat Tuesday — for now.
The West Virginia senator was dead-set on passing a permitting overhaul for energy projects this month, by tying the legislation to a must-pass spending stopgap. Manchin world was convinced the time was right for action, with fresh buy-in from Democratic leaders, combined with long-standing support for the notion of permitting reform among Republicans.
The case Manchin made to his GOP colleagues over the past few days was simple: It’s now or never. The deal he’d cut with Majority Leader CHUCK SCHUMER allowing for a permitting vote in return for his backing of the Inflation Reduction Act unlocked dozens of Democratic votes that might not otherwise exist. But he underestimated the power of Republican spite — and Minority Leader MITCH McCONNELL’s whipping.
In their new examination of the deal’s collapse, Burgess Everett, Josh Siegel and Zack Colman write “there were simply too many problems for [Manchin] to solve in too short a time,” and once McConnell “telegraphed he had the votes to stop Manchin, the centrist requested that Schumer pull the permitting language out” of the short-term funding bill.
Manchin said in a statement it was “unfortunate that [senators] are allowing politics to put the energy security of our nation at risk.” One source in his orbit said his surprise and disappointment was genuine: “He’s always surprised when politics kills good policy. But I think that’s why he pulled it — so he can regroup and pass it after the election.”
But Tuesday’s surrender was a reminder that Manchin’s “leverage is less strong than it was this summer when he controlled the deciding vote on Democrats’ agenda,” the trio write. Still, “party leaders see themselves as indebted to him and aren’t going to walk away now.”
There are at least two more must-pass bills that Manchin could try to attach the proposal to: the annual defense authorization bill and the lame-duck government spending bill. But consummating a deal would require delicate new negotiations with Republicans — and, most likely, McConnell’s blessing.
McConnell didn’t give Manchin much reason to hope Tuesday, calling his effort a “phony attempt to address an important topic” while suggesting that the issue might be better handled under a GOP majority: “Republicans are the leaders on this issue.”
With Manchin’s legislation axed, the funding stopgap moved forward on a 72-23 Senate vote, all but removing the threat of a government shutdown at midnight Friday. Congress will have until Dec. 16 to reach a broader deal on fiscal 2023 appropriations — or pass another stopgap. More from Government Executive
Joe Manchin has no friends, and does not even earn professional courtesy from the obstructionist Republicans. I suppose this could be a learning moment for ol’ Joe, but I doubt it.