Schumer in a pinch over permitting reform promise to Manchin, as progressive opposition builds

Fox News host Sean Hannity briefly touched on a conundrum Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer is facing when it comes to fulfilling a pledge he made to Sen. Joe Manchin, D-W.Va., who essentially paved the way for the Democratic Party to pass the massive climate spending bill deceptively dubbed the Inflation Reduction Act by getting on board.

 

“Also developing tonight inside the Washington swamp, where Joe Manchin’s pipeline deal with Chucky Schumer apparently now could cause some major problems with preparing an interim spending bill to avert a government shutdown,” Hannity said. “By the way, Manchin’s poll numbers after that deal with Chucky — they’re tanking.”

Manchin seeks to overhaul the nation’s permitting process and said in a statement at the time that President Joe Biden, Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Schumer “committed to advancing a suite of common sense permitting reforms this fall that will ensure all energy infrastructure, from transmission to pipelines and export facilities, can be efficiently and responsibly built to deliver energy safely around the country and to our allies.”

On Wednesday, Schumer made clear that he doesn’t plan to backtrack on his promise, The Hill reported.

“Permitting reform is part of the IRA and we will get it done,” Schumer said. “Our intention is to add it to the CR.”

The DNC’s Resolutions Committee was expected to vote on the two-page resolution related to the permitting deal on Thursday while meeting in Washington, according to the Washington Post, which added that “the resolution is not expected to pass.”

“It highlights a growing rift in the Democratic Party over permitting reform, a critical issue on the congressional agenda this fall,” the newspaper added.

Manchin may soon learn the perils of getting into bed with the radical progressive left element of the party, as opposition to the reform is building from progressive House Democrats and outside environmental groups, according to The Hill.

“There’s also a chance that several Senate Democrats may balk at the deal with Manchin, now that they no longer need his vote to pass a budget reconciliation bill,” the political news site noted, adding that 50 lawmakers signed onto a letter from U.S. Rep. Raúl Grijalva (D-Ariz.) calling for a separate vote on permitting reform instead of putting them in the continuing resolution.

This is in addition to more than 650 organizations signing a letter last month to Schumer and Pelosi expressing their opposition.

“This fossil fuel wish list is a cruel and direct attack on environmental justice communities and the climate,” the letter stated. “This legislation would truncate and hollow out the environmental review process, weaken Tribal consultations, and make it far harder for frontline communities to have their voices heard by gutting bedrock protections in the National Environmental Policy Act and Clean Water Act.”

On the other hand, Republicans argue Manchin’s reforms don’t go far enough.

“It seems pretty weak to me. I want to see how they have it written up but I hear it sounds pretty weak —  ineffective,” said Sen. John Barrasso (R-Wyo.), the ranking Republican on the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee.

Sen. John Cornyn (R-Texas) joked while speaking to The Hill that “this may be a Lucy and the football moment” for Manchin.

“I like the idea of permitting reform. So, I’ll certainly keep an open mind,” Cornyn said, adding that he would be “surprised” if Manchin “gets what was promised.”

“I know there are progressives over in the House that don’t like the idea,” he said. “They swallowed the reconciliation bill, but it’s going to be an interesting process to watch.”

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