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Democrats Are Stuck on Stupid if They Double-Cross Manchin

AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite

Last month, Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) struck a deal with Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer: In exchange for Manchin’s support of the so-called Inflation Reduction Act, Schumer promised to streamline the permit approval process for oil and gas drilling in a future appropriations bill. Without Manchin’s support, the bill never would have been signed into law and wouldn’t have given Joe Biden a legislative victory at a time he really needed one. It didn’t matter that the legislation actually does nothing to address inflation.

But it seems that Democrats are looking to double-cross Manchin, now that they got what they wanted.

According to a report from Fox News, 71 House Democrats warned Speaker Nancy Pelosi that they may vote against any appropriations bill if it contains the provisions Manchin wanted in exchange for his support of the Inflation Reduction Act.

“In the face of the existential threats like climate change and MAGA extremism, House and Senate leadership has a greater responsibility than ever to avoid risking a government shutdown by jamming divisive policy riders into a must-pass continuing resolution,” the legislators wrote in a letter. “Permitting reform hurts already-overburdened communities, puts polluters on an even faster track, and divides the caucus.”

“The permitting and public notice and comment provisions mandated by the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) are among the only tools local communities have to force careful review of federal projects that may have serious, long-term, environmental, and public health consequences in those communities,” the letter continued. “Congress should continue to provide increased funding to assist federal agencies in completing the NEPA process but attempts to short-circuit or undermine the law in the name of ‘reform’ must be opposed.”

These Democrats insist that the permitting reforms are “anti-environmental and anti-environmental justice,” and said that they were done “at the behest of the American Petroleum Institute (API).”

Earlier this week, Schumer indicated that he intends to include the permitting provision in the language of the next appropriations bill. But if 71 House Democrats stand firm in opposition to the bill, they may force his hand and the language could be axed in order to avoid a government shutdown.

Also for our VIPs: Radical Greens Livid Over Schumer-Manchin Deal on ‘Permitting Legislation’

Manchin’s support of the Inflation Reduction Act has already cost him politically. A recent poll showed that his approval ratings are underwater in West Virginia, with only 26.3% having a favorable view of him, and 66.1% having an unfavorable view. Manchin has paid a huge price to be a tool for the Biden agenda, and that’s hurt him badly in a red state where he managed to win over the voters three times already.

Back in October, there were rumors that Manchin was considering leaving the Democratic Party. Manchin dismissed the rumors, saying, “I can’t control rumors, and it’s bull****.” However, he did acknowledge that he’s approached “every day” about switching parties and has said that it probably would be “easier” to join the GOP than remain a Democrat.

I’ve said before that if Joe Manchin plans to run for reelection in 2024, becoming a Republican might be the best way to save his political career. That may not work anymore, but if Democrats double-cross him on this issue, I think Manchin could make a hell of a statement by switching to being an Independent and caucusing with Republicans.

That probably won’t happen. However, it seems like a really stupid idea for House Democrats to renege on an agreement when Manchin could still be a crucial vote for the two months before the midterm elections.

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