Sen. Joe Manchin’s humiliation was brought to completion on Tuesday after his Democrat-negotiated permitting reform deal officially fell through.
Per RedState’s previous reporting, Manchin stabbed Republicans in the back during the summer, waiting until the CHIPS Act passed before doing an about-face on a big-spending reconciliation bill full of “climate change” payoffs. The West Virginia senator had supposedly struck a deal whereby he would pass the falsely named Inflation Reduction Act in exchange for Democrat support for permitting reform for oil and gas projects.
As I wrote at the time the deal was announced, Manchin was playing with fire by trusting his own anti-energy party to follow through.
But what really puts the cherry on top of this pitiful performance by Manchin is that he’s unlikely to even get any of what he’s demanding. House Democrats can easily scuttle the entire thing and likely will. That outline is a best-case scenario, and even then, it delivers almost nothing of substance.
Sure enough, Manchin does not have the votes, and while some of that is because Republicans aren’t going along to get along after being betrayed, the rest of the opposition to sink the measure is coming from inside the house.
Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer officially pulled the plug in response to the situation.
SCHUMER confirms energy provisions are out of the CR
— Erik Wasson (@elwasson) September 27, 2022
For the life of me, I still can’t figure out what Manchin thought he was doing here. He made a deal with Democrats to pass a bill that every Republican opposed. He then turned around and thought that he could lobby those same Republicans to support permitting reform, which is what Manchin supposedly received in exchange for his vote for reconciliation. But that payoff was negotiated by Democrats and was supposed to be delivered by Democrats.
The whole thing is just laughably naive, and the math never made any sense at all. Why would the GOP ever consider rewarding Manchin by helping to uphold a deal he made with Democrats in order to pass a boondoggle spending bill no Republican wanted? Never mind that the reconciliation bill was terrible policy that did nothing to help with inflation.
Perhaps Manchin really had become that arrogant as the crucial swing vote over the last several years, believing himself to have more sway than he has. Whatever the reasoning, he’s learning the hard way that Republicans may be suckers, but even they have limits to how much they are willing to get played.
It’s astonishing when you think about it. Manchin nuked his political career for a crappy reconciliation bill in exchange for a false promise from his own party members. All the while, the same people on the left that hated him before still hate him. He gained absolutely nothing from his move and lost everything. I suppose there’s some poetic justice in that.