West Virginia Democratic Sen. Joe Manchin said Wednesday that lawmakers can no longer ignore worsening inflation, which consumer data showed hit a 30-year high.

West Virginia Democratic Sen. Manchin May Pay A Price For Going Along With Biden

After the 2020 election, West Virginia Sen. Joe Manchin stood to be the most influential lawmaker in Washington.

After the 2020 election, West Virginia Sen. Joe Manchin stood to be the most influential lawmaker in Washington.

The Democrat was conservative enough to not only survive in a state that gave former President Donald Trump 69% of the vote in 2020, but to lead many on the right that he might switch parties if pushed hard and far enough by the liberal radicals in his own party.

Yet, it seems, the frustrated GOP has seen a mood swing.

The Hill reported on Sunday that Republican senators are increasingly unwilling to cut a deal to save a major pipeline in his state with a viable contender waiting to take Manchin on in 2024.

West Virginia Republican Gov. Jim Justice said last week that he is seriously considering running for Manchin’s seat in two years.

The Wheeling Intelligencer reported last week that Justice has a 65-percent approval rating, the sixth-highest in the country.

Against that backdrop, GOP senators are looking less interested in helping Manchin, especially after he voted for President Joe Biden’s nearly $800 billion Inflation Reduction Act.

As The Free Press reported in August, Manchin did so because Democratic leaders appeared to pledge support for Manchin’s pet project: a streamlining of permitting regulations for oil and natural gas projects that would speed up the completion of the  Mountain Valley Pipeline, a $6.6 billion project.

But Democrats in the House double-crossed Manchin by saying they were not involved in the deal Manchin cut with Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi. And they still refuse to go along.

Newsmax reported on Sunday that Democratic Rep. Raúl Grijalva of Arizona, chairman of the House Natural Resources Committee, wrote a letter to Pelosi and House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer asking that they “exclude harmful permitting provisions from must-pass legislation this year.”

This leaves dealing with Republicans as Manchin’s most viable, if not only, option.

But Republicans seem to recall Manchin’s voting with Biden at a critical moment.

As The Hill noted, “Getting permitting reform passed as a reward for that tough [Inflation Reduction Act] vote would give him political cover.”

Yet, “Republicans say [Manchin’s permitting bill] faces an uphill path as they view his West Virginia Senate seat as a top pickup opportunity in the next election.”

The terribly misnamed Inflation Reduction Act passed the Senate on a strict party-line vote, with Vice President Kamala Harris casting the deciding ballot.

Manchin needs at least 10 Republicans to at least get a vote on the final permitting measure. One strategist suggested they not give it to him.

Brian Darling, a Republican political consultant, told The Hill, “I don’t think Republicans should give Manchin any victories. It would be a big political fumble to let a weak permitting reform bill pass and give Manchin a victory when he’s staring at a very difficult reelection.”

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