House Democrats firm in opposing Manchin-Schumer energy deal

Specifically, Manchin seeks to curb existing provisions that allow for local review of federal projects "that have serious, long-term environmental, and public health consequences."

Updated: September 13, 2022 - 4:14pm

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Opposition to an energy permitting reform deal between Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer and West Virginia Democratic Sen. Joe Manchin is solidifying among House Democrats.

Manchin and Schumer announced in late July that they had reached a deal in which the West Virginia senator would lend his support to the $740 billion Inflation Reduction Act in exchange for a separate measure streamlining the approval of domestic energy projects.

Specifically, Manchin seeks to curb existing provisions that allow for local review of federal projects "that have serious, long-term environmental, and public health consequences," the Washington Examiner reported.

Though the plan earned Manchin's support for the ultimate passage of the Democratic spending package, a significant number of House Democrats do not wish to honor Schumer's deal, arguing that they were never party to that agreement and are hence, not bound to its terms. Over 70 representatives signed on to a Friday letter to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi voicing opposition to the reform plan.

Anticipating trouble with a standalone measure, Schumer has vowed to honor his agreement with Manchin by including the permitting reform plan in a continuing budget resolution. That approach, however, leaves much uncertainty about the plan's ultimate fate.

Leading the Democrats in opposing the Manchin plan is Arizona Democratic Rep. Raul Grijalva of the House Natural Resources Committee. Grijalva cast doubt on the prospect of the plan's passage via the continuing resolution.

"I don't know how a CR vote will go if it includes the permitting rider, but the opposition is loud and only getting louder," Grijalva said, per the Examiner. "I encourage leadership to listen to its caucus and keep us out of a shutdown standoff that nobody wants. Give us a clean CR and let these dirty permitting provisions stand up to congressional scrutiny on their own. Now is not the time to roll the dice on a government shutdown."

Republican support for the plan, especially through the continuing resolution approach, is unlikely, as fellow West Virginia Republican Sen. Shelley Moore Capito has introduced a separate, standalone version of the permitting reform effort.

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