Tuesday, September 27, 2022

Last Call For The Manchin On The Hill, Con't

For months now, WV Democratic Sen. Joe Manchin has been threatening "consequences" if he didn't get his pound of flesh in exchange for allowing Biden's Climate Change legislation to pass the Senate. 

The deal he made with Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi was that Democrats would use budget reconciliation to pass energy legislation that Manchin wanted, including a new pipeline through West Virginia.

It's true, Republicans don't want to give Manchin another Democratic win. But a Republican win, where Manchin bails on the party, gets his pipeline for WV as part of must-pass budget negotiations, and his sub-Biden approval numbers back in his home state skyrocket again?
Manchin may take that deal.
The other theory is that he's bluffing, and there's plenty of evidence for that, too.

We'll see.
Today, we find out Manchin is dropping that legislation from must-pass budget legislation.completely, and folding his hand. The latter was true, he was bluffing, and he got nothing.

Senate Democrats on Tuesday cleared the way for a key vote to take up a government funding extension to succeed after West Virginia Sen. Joe Manchin dropped a request to include in the stop-gap bill a controversial proposal on permitting reform that had come under sharp criticism from Republicans and liberals.

The vote had been on the verge of failing due to the inclusion of the measure, but now will likely have the support needed for the funding bill to move forward.

Senators released the legislative text of the stop-gap funding bill overnight – a measure that would fund the government through December 16.

In addition to money to keep government agencies afloat, it provides around $12 billion for Ukraine as it continues to face Russian military attack, and would require the Pentagon to report on how US dollars have been spent there. The aid to Ukraine is a bipartisan priority.

The continuing resolution also would extend an expiring FDA user fee program for five years.

Manchin’s permitting proposal would expedite the permitting and environmental review process for energy projects – including a major pipeline that would cross through Manchin’s home state of West Virginia. Senate Democratic leaders had been pushing to pass it along with government funding as a result of a deal cut to secure Manchin’s support for Democrats’ controversial Inflation Reduction Act – a key priority for the party – which passed over the summer.

But Republicans had been warning they will vote against the effort to tie permitting reform to the funding extension, in part because they don’t want to reward Manchin over his support for the Inflation Reduction Act.

Lawmakers are expected to pass a short-term funding extension by week’s end and avert a shutdown but they are up against the clock with funding set to expire on Friday at midnight.

The timing of the fight continues a pattern by Capitol Hill leaders in recent years of negotiating until the last minute to fund the federal government, leaving virtually no room for error in a series of events where any one senator could slow the process down beyond the deadline.
In the end, Manchin overplayed his party switch card against Democrats stabbing him in the back. Instead, his Republican colleagues stabbed him in the front.
It's still possible that this was a double-agent move where Manchin switches parties anyway, Manchin really is dumb enough to do that, but I'm pretty sure today is the day Joe Manchin learned that there are 99 other US senators besides Joe Manchin.
The only person who got played here was Manchin himself.
Couldn't have happened to a nicer guy.

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