Remember when Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) wanted the House to pass President Joe Biden’s $1.2 trillion Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act but the “Squad” insisted on Senate passage of Biden’s $3 trillion Build Back Better agenda first?
Eventually, the Squad caved, voting for the infrastructure bill in early November after being promised by Pelosi that the Senate would vote on the Build Back Better bill before Thanksgiving.
Of course, that vote on Build Back Better never happened. Sen. Joe Manchin (D-WV) broke off his negotiations with Biden in December, and talks on that spending plan never resumed.
But now, Manchin is back with what he is calling the Inflation Reduction Act, even though it doesn’t actually reduce inflation. The legislation is a deal with the White House that includes a lot of environmental priorities Manchin would rather not vote for, like higher taxes on energy producers.
But Manchin says the energy consumers in his state shouldn’t worry because Pelosi and Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) have promised him separate legislation on pipeline permitting reform. Supposedly, action on this permitting legislation, which would limit environmental review of pipeline permits to two years, would occur right after Manchin votes for the Inflation Reduction Act.
Manchin shouldn’t hold his breath. The House is about as likely to pass a new law making it easier for fossil fuel companies to build new pipelines as it is to give former President Donald Trump a Congressional Medal of Honor for innovations in Capitol security.
Pelosi and Schumer will pocket Manchin’s vote on the Infrastructure Reduction Act, send that legislation to Biden’s desk, and then not lift a finger to help pass permitting reform as the clock runs out on the legislative calendar before Election Day.
Manchin should save himself the embarrassment and just say he loves the Inflation Reduction Act as is and is not expecting any other legislative favors in return, because he is not getting them.