Progressive House members, seeking to prevent a government shutdown, want Democrat leaders to renege on a deal regarding permitting reform made with Sen. Joe Manchin, D-W.Va.
Democrats made the deal with Manchin to get his support for President Joe Biden’s since-signed climate and healthcare bill.
Rep. Raúl Grijalva, D-Ariz., chair of the House Natural Resources Committee, was circulating a letter asking leadership to pull the Manchin deal from a continuing resolution (CR) that would fund the government in the short-term, The Hill reported Friday.
"Don't attach it to a budget, to a CR, must-pass legislation and therefore take this essential Republican agenda and have Democrats pass it," he told The Hill earlier this month.
Late Friday morning, Grijalva retweeted a post by Rep. Jared Huffman, D-Calif., who shared last week’s Newsweek opinion column written by the chairman.
"Chair @RepRaulGrijalva is spot on: we owe Manchin & API nothing. It would take major revisions to make the API bill into good policy and that shouldn't happen in a backroom. Many of us won't support more fossil fuel giveaways, so don't attach it to a CR!" Huffman tweeted.
Biden, Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., satisfied Manchin by agreeing "to pass comprehensive permitting reform legislation before the end of this fiscal year [Oct. 1]."
Both Republicans and Democrats have expressed opposition to the legislation, which is designed to expedite energy and infrastructure projects subject to environmental reviews.
Progressives next month potentially could block a government funding resolution over the inclusion of the permitting reform language. Still, Democrats do not want to shut down the government months before midterm elections.
"This is not trying to torpedo anything," Grijalva said, The Hill reported. "This is saying the [continuing resolution] and the budget is critical, yes, but let’s do this other one where everybody is accountable."
Huffman also told The Hill the standoff likely wouldn’t cause a shutdown.
"You can tell members 'if you vote against this you're shutting down the government,' but most of us are a little smarter than that and we know that you can have a backup CR ready to go that funds the government without all the fossil fuel baggage."
Just a handful of progressive votes could block a measure to fund the government — assuming there's not enough GOP support to make up the difference.
Democrat leaders would face a difficult choice: Passing a clean continuing resolution and possibly angering Manchin, or convincing their own members to shed their environmental concerns and back the Manchin side deal.
Some House Republicans do back permitting reform, though it’s uncertain whether they'd want to back a Democrat funding measure.
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