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Government Watch / Politics

Manchin’s Permitting Reform Failure Shows Far-Left Still Dominates the Democratic Party

AMAC Exclusive – By Shane Harris

Reform

When President Joe Biden signed a stopgap funding bill this past Friday that did not include permitting reform legislation, it marked the latest broken promise from President Joe Biden, Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, and congressional Democrats as a whole – and was another clear sign that the progressive wing is still firmly in control of the Democrat Party.

The stopgap bill, also known as a continuing resolution or CR, will keep the government open through December 16, a major win for Democrats as both parties head into the final weeks of the fall campaign season. But although the CR provides $12.4 billion in additional aid for Ukraine and funding for dozens of other government programs of questionable utility, it includes none of the permitting reform (changes to the process by which energy projects are approved by the federal government) that Democrat leadership had said would be included.

In July, Schumer struck a deal with West Virginia Senator Joe Manchin to break the gridlock on passage of Biden’s budget reconciliation package – the gargantuan spending bill that would dubiously be titled the “Inflation Reduction Act” (IRA). In an appearance on NBC’s Meet the Press shortly before passage of the IRA, Manchin confirmed an “agreement” between himself, Pelosi, Schumer, and Biden that if he would vote for the reconciliation bill, Democrat leadership would promise to introduce and pass permitting reform legislation “before the end of the fiscal year” (September 30). Further, Manchin stated that there would be “consequences” if Schumer, Pelosi, or Biden broke their promise – although he deflected when pressed on what exactly those consequences would be.

The need for permitting reform – which would have significantly aided in ramping up domestic energy production – has become even more apparent in the face of rising energy costs worldwide. In a one-page summary of the IRA, Senate Democrat leadership specifically stated that permitting reform “is essential to unlocking domestic energy and transmission projects, which will lower costs for consumers and help us meet our long-term emissions goals.”

But as Congress neared last Friday’s deadline to extend government funding, it quickly became clear that Democrats didn’t have the support for Manchin’s proposed reforms, and the legislation was stripped from the CR last Tuesday.

In comments following the decision to remove permitting reform from the funding bill, Schumer attempted to shift blame on Republicans, claiming they were choosing to “obstruct instead of work in a bipartisan way to achieve something they’ve long claimed they want to do.”

But that analysis doesn’t square with comments from other Senate Democrats, including Manchin himself. Instead of joining Schumer in blaming of Republicans, Manchin only said rather dejectedly that “It is unfortunate that members of the United States Senate are allowing politics to put the energy security of our nation at risk.” Senator Bernie Sanders, meanwhile, was elated about the decision, saying that it marks “a good day for the climate and for the environment and a bad day for big oil and the fossil fuel industry.”

Notably, Manchin also told reporters prior to the Senate vote on the CR on Thursday that he expected “45 to 48” Democrats to vote “yes” on the version of the bill with permitting reform – meaning that Schumer would have had to bank on support from Republicans or risk a funding lapse. That support appeared unlikely, as the GOP was already backing another even stronger permitting reform proposal from the other West Virginia Senator, Shelley Moore Capito.

The most likely scenario thus seems to be that Schumer – as well as House Speaker Nancy Pelosi – realized that they were again at the mercy of the progressive wing of their party, radical leftists who have shown before that they are more than willing to damage their own party in service of their ideological agenda. For progressives, a government shutdown is of no consequence in comparison to the climate apocalypse they prophesy if they do not succeed in their crusade to shut down oil and gas production. The fact that Manchin himself requested the permitting reform legislation be removed from the CR in order for Schumer to save face was yet another acknowledgement of who really runs the caucus.

Two things should be clear from this outcome. First, voters – and particularly West Virginia voters – no longer have any reason to believe Joe Manchin’s “moderate” charade. Manchin had all the leverage this summer to force Schumer to tie permitting reform to passage of the IRA, rather than just vague promises to pass it at some later date. If that had happened, progressives in both the House and the Senate would have faced far more pressure to support it. Instead, Manchin chose only to pay lip service to this supposed “priority,” promising to get to it later, and has now retreated in the face of opposition.

Second, when it comes to any legislation of real consequence, the far left dominates the Democrat Party. For all the bluster of supposed “moderates” like Manchin and Arizona Senator Kyrsten Sinema, the 117th Congress has still passed the most radical left-wing legislation in American history, particularly on fiscal policy. Despite all the rhetoric about the need to fight inflation, every Democrat fell in line behind the $1.9 trillion American Rescue Plan, the infrastructure bill, the IRA (which is actually predicted to make inflation worse) and now the government funding bill.

Just hours after passage of the CR, Manchin was already floating that he was prepared to take another stand on permitting reform with the two other “must-pass” bills this year: the annual defense policy bill and another government spending bill. But both of these bills will likely come up after November’s election – meaning that progressives will have even less of an incentive to support permitting reform, or anything else perceived as at odds with their radical agenda.

Manchin knows this, and so should the rest of the country. As much as the party establishment and the mainstream media may want to prop up the image of a powerful moderate faction of the Democrat Party, the truth is that it simply does not exist, or to the extent that it does has no real influence. Instead, it is the ascendant far-left fringe that sets party priorities and ultimately determines what becomes law.

Shane Harris is a writer and political consultant from Southwest Ohio. You can follow him on Twitter @Shane_Harris_.


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Hal
1 month ago

Manchin is 100% all about what is best for Manchin. What is best for the Nation’s governance and citizens is a distant second at best.

GTPatriot
1 month ago

Manchin revealed a lot of his innate communism when he voted to support the Biden economic plan.
I can’t imagine what his payoff is.

GTPatriot
1 month ago

Manchin is a fraud. Wake up, WEST VIRGINIA. Manchin and Romney are a marriage made in
heaven in their torrid race to communism.

Charles
1 month ago

I had always thought Sen. Joe Manchin from W.V. was an independant thinker but it appears he is just another democrat in the Biden administration following orders.

Dr Rene
1 month ago

What does Manchin & Senima have in common? When it matters, they VOTE DEMOCRAT 100% of the time.

edward
1 month ago

Did you think communists, totalitarians, etc were going to just give up? They are soooooo close to their goal of overthrown our DEMOCRATIC REPUBLIC in favor of their gaining more power and wealth that they can just taste it. They aint going to stop now. To many “useful idiots” out there for them to give up.

Letts Brandon
1 month ago

Manchin keeps this up and he could become a Republican.

HocasPocas
1 month ago
Reply to  Letts Brandon

Maybe a RINO. Not a real republican. We already have too many republicans in name only

Hal
1 month ago
Reply to  Letts Brandon

The Republicans can do without a Communist mole in the Party!!!

anna hubert
2 months ago

Democrats are far left republicans are RINOs and together they just chug along voter is blissfully blind and deaf

Dr Rene
1 month ago
Reply to  anna hubert

14 US Senators are RINOS & 60 US House Members are RINOS. Voters are too Blaim.

Pastor Ron
2 months ago

Duped again by the party(lol) that he supports.

George
2 months ago

Joe Manchin has been a liberal democrat all along. I lived under his “leadership” and found him to be just another self-serving democrat, sacrificing his state to his party’s and his own interests.

PaulE
2 months ago
Reply to  George

Could you please explain how he keeps getting re-elected over and over again in a state, that by all accounts, should be an obviously Republican dominated state? I have yet to hear from anyone of that state a rationale that makes any sense.

Dr Rene
1 month ago
Reply to  George

And for political contributions he can use once he retires

MJB
1 month ago
Reply to  George

I agree 100% about Manchin. He may have fooled his constituents in the past, but I’m hoping West Virginians remember his “leadership” when he runs in 2024! The GOP needs to come up with a candidate that’s going to rattle some cages in Washington DC. At one time I thought Manchin would become a decent Republican. Forget that, we don’t need any more Rinos in the Senate. Manchin plays political games about being red or blue. If you ask me he’s definitely got a yellow streak a mile long!

Jeb
2 months ago

For Manchin, for Schumer, for any Democrat it is about who is padding whose pocket. I am so exhausted by all the analysts trying to make it something more than it is.

Boz
2 months ago

ALL poIiticians are eviI. Dems are MOST eviI.

virginia colsndrea
2 months ago
Reply to  Boz

Actually, this applies to all of us. “The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately sick; who can understand it? Jeremiah chapter seventeen, verse nine. This is what God says, but He has provided a way to be forgiven, if a person wants His laws and ways.

Jeff
2 months ago

Manchin is a dog with fleas that got burned by his own party who sold him down the greenbriar river.He’s screwed the folks of WVA long enough.

Dr Rene
1 month ago
Reply to  Jeff

Are you saying WVA is at fault for scr**** all Americans?

Max
2 months ago

Hopefully, WV voters now realize the need to get rid of this wishy-washy Senator.

Dr Rene
1 month ago
Reply to  Max

And UT get rid of Romney, AK get rid of Murkowski, her get rid if Collins, SC get rid of Graham, Kentucky get rid of McConnell, etc

Max
1 month ago
Reply to  Dr Rene

No argument here. Voters from all states need to wake up and get rid of “Professional” politicians. Sadly, voters will probably not do the necessary research into candidates to vote in proper representation so “bad/evil” reps will remain in place.

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