Sen. Joe Manchin may still have an ace up his sleeve.
The West Virginia Democrat, who has been cheered by conservatives for his stances on the Biden administration’s tax and green energy platforms, warned his fellow Democrats on Tuesday about attempting to double-cross him.
Manchin struck a deal with Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer last month to become the pivotal vote in the Democrats ramming through President Joe Biden’s nearly $800 billion Inflation Reduction Act.
As The Free Press reported this week, Manchin sided with leftist Senate Democrats because he was promised aid to complete a $6.6 billion natural gas pipeline in his home state. He also got a commitment for legislation to set time limits for federal energy-permit reviews, create a statute of limitations for court challenges to fossil-fuel projects, and have the administration fast-track some energy projects.
Yet House Democrats balked and threatened to gut Schumer’s promise to Manchin now that they got what they wanted from him.
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“We sure as hell don’t owe Joe Manchin anything now,” Rep. Rashida Tlaib of Michigan said recently.
But Manchin had a retort.
According to The Epoch Times, he told voters in his home state that Democrats who turn on him will regret it.
“I’ve got the hard left right now saying, ‘Hell no, we’re not going to do anything now that makes it look like we’re helping Manchin,’” the senator said.
“I said, ‘You’re not helping me, you’re helping yourself if you want to get anything built in America.’”
The Times added, “Specifically, Manchin has demanded that the regulation cuts be included as part of a stopgap spending measure, which must pass by Sept. 30 to stave off a government shutdown. If he doesn’t get his way on this, Manchin suggested, he is quite happy to team up with Republicans and force a government shutdown until Democrats yield.”
If Manchin refuses to go along, Schumer needs support from at least 11 Senate Republicans to prevent the shutdown.
“This [loosened fossil fuel regulations] is something the Republican Party has wanted for the last five to seven years I’ve been with them,” Manchin said, according to the Times.
“It either keeps the country open, or we shut down the government. That’ll happen September 30, so let’s see how that politics plays out.”
Republicans have signaled they won’t support the spending bill if the Democrats add other items off their wish list to it.
The views and opinions expressed in this commentary are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the opinion of The Free Press.