Gradual revolt against Manchin energy side deal could scold government funding

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Seventy-two House Democrats, including several committee chairs, warned House leaders on Friday not to agree to loosen restrictions on new energy projects in a bid to keep federal government funding past Sept. 30. .

The warning has come in a letter hosted by Rep. Raúl Grijalva (DN.M.), chairman of the House Natural Resources Committee, and follows similar opposition from Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) in the Senate. With Democrats holding paper-thin margins in every chamber, almMost no-shows on a vote on a temporary funding bill could cause big trouble.

In the Face of Existential Threats Like Climate Change and MAGA Extremism, House and Senate Leaders Have Greater Responsibility than ever before to avoid risking a government shutdown by stalling divisive political jumpers in unavoidable continued resolution,” Grijalva said in a statement about the letter.

“Allowing reform hurts already overstretched communities, puts polluters on an even faster track and splits the caucus. Now is just not the time,” he said.

Grijalva had been circulating the letter for weeks. Although it was signed by many members of the Congressional Progressive Caucus, 19 of the signatories were non-CCP members, according to a spokesperson for the Natural Resources Committee, and 13 signatories were members of the pro-NDP coalition. -companies. The chairmen of the financial services, armed services and budget committees were among those who signed.

To keep government agencies open after the government’s fiscal year ends on September 30, Congress must pass at least one temporary funding bill, known as a continuing resolution. Continuing resolutions generally maintain funding at existing levels and allow government to operate until a specific date until a longer-term agreement can be reached. But as must-have legislation, they can and often do become legislative Christmas trees that lawmakers can spruce up other bills that might not pass on their own.

Sen. Joe Manchin (DW.Va.) struck a deal with Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (DN.Y.) in the summer to pass changes to site permit requirements for new energy projects , including pipelines, in exchange for Manchin’s endorsement of the Democrats’ big climate and fiscal law, the Inflation Reduction Act.

But with the IRA signed and Manchin’s influence waning, Democratic leaders face an uphill struggle to uphold Manchin’s ‘sidecar’ pact, especially after Manchin angered progressives. earlier in the process by cutting most of its climate and tax bill. social spending. This would make the continuous resolution path more attractive.

In the Senate on Thursday, Sanders spoke out against the permission changes. “I beg my colleagues that at a time when the future of the world literally hangs in the balance, we have the courage to stand up to the fossil fuel industry and tell them and the politicians they sponsor that the future of the planet is more important than their short-term profits.

Manchin said the permit changes are necessary to allow time to develop alternative energy sources.

“If I thought it was going to be harmful to the planet, I never would have done it,” he told reporters on Thursday.

“There are people who talk about hydrogen power plants, we talk about small nuclear reactors, we talk about solar farms, wind farms. But we have to have the fossil power that we need right now to run the country,” Manchin said.

Majority Leader Steny Hoyer’s office, which sets the House agenda, declined to comment on the letter. With funding that will only last until September 30, the House only has a handful of working days left in the month – 10 or 11, depending on whether there are votes on Tuesday – before they leave. Washington and won’t embark on the campaign trail until November’s midterm elections.

Senior reporter Arthur Delaney contributed to this story.

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