Late. Joe Manchin’s legislation to spur oil and gas drilling was left out of the national defense bill to be passed after conservative Senate Republicans and progressive House Democrats raised objections.
Manchin, a West Virginia Democrat who chairs the Senate Energy Committee, said the move would have serious and long-term consequences for American energy independence.
“The American people will pay the steepest price for Washington once again failing to put common sense politics ahead of toxic tribal politics,” he said. “This is why the American people hate politics in Washington.”
Democratic leaders hoped to include legislation overhauling oil and gas drilling permitting regulations in the National Defense Authorization Act as a reward for Manchin’s support of President Joe Biden The Inflation Reduction Act. However, these plans were scrapped after bipartisan opposition in both the House and Senate.
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Inside the House, several progressive Democrats threatened to vote against the NDAA if it included Manchin’s authorization legislation.
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“This would discourage the bedrock of environmental regulations and fast track fossil fuel projects,” said Rep. Rashida Tlaib, D-Mich. “I refuse to allow our residents in frontline communities to continue to be victimized by the fossil fuel industry’s endless greed.”
Given the narrow margin by which Democrats control the House, progressive opposition would likely be costly.
“If even 10 House progressives vote against it, it probably can’t pass,” said Rep. Ro Khanna, a California Democrat who opposed the inclusion of Manchin’s pet initiative.
The situation was the same in the 100-member Senate, except that it was the Republicans who were in opposition. GOP lawmakers argued that Manchin’s permitting bill did not go far enough to spur oil and gas production to keep pace with new environmental regulations.
A few were also asked to support the authorization bill and reward Manchin for helping deliver a big victory for Democrats. Late. Lindsey Graham, RS.C., even described the deal as a “political payback scheme.”
“Sen. Manchin, if you think you’re going to get 60 votes to get the sweeteners,” Graham said, “you need to think long and hard about what you’re doing.”
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GOP opposition proved key in the 50-50 Senate, where at least 10 Republicans will be needed to clear the 60-vote filibuster threshold.