Republicans may tank Manchin's energy deregulation bill to get revenge on him: report
Senator Joe Manchin speaking during an event in 2017. (Third Way Think Tank)

When Manchin helped Democrats pass the Inflation Reduction Act, securing hundreds of billions for health care and climate reforms, one of the conditions was that Manchin could introduce a bill for permitting reform — which would help energy and infrastructure projects around the country, both clean and dirty, get approved more quickly, including, crucially, a pipeline in Manchin's home state of West Virginia.

Energy deregulation has long been a goal of Republicans, so in theory the GOP would be more solid allies for helping Manchin get his permitting bill passed than his fellow Democrats. But according to POLITICO on Monday, many Republicans, still enraged over Manchin's key role in the IRA, are threatening to hold the line against the bill, just to spite him.

"With progressives already balking, several Republicans said Monday night that they might not provide the votes needed to break a filibuster of permitting reform, a key cog of this summer’s Democratic climate, health care and tax deal," reported Caitlin Emma, Burgess Everett, and Sarah Ferris. "Though easing construction of energy projects is a longstanding core GOP goal, the party’s senators said they were under no obligation to cough up perhaps a dozen or more votes that Democrats need to get Manchin’s vision done."

"Sen. John Cornyn (R-Texas) said that 'I don’t think you can count on any Republicans to vote for something they haven’t seen.' But there’s another factor: Manchin’s agreement with Majority Leader Chuck Schumer to pass their party-line domestic policy centerpiece this summer — with permitting reform as a side agreement, requiring votes from both parties to pass later.," said the report. "'Given what Senator Manchin did on the reconciliation bill, [it’s] engendered a lot of bad blood,' Cornyn said. 'There’s not a lot of sympathy on our side to provide Sen. Manchin a reward.'"

All of this comes as Democrats themselves are divided over whether to pass the bill in the first place; while the as-yet-unreleased bill could, in theory, make it easier to build green energy projects and mass transit, many progressives believe that the easier approval process for oil and gas drilling and pipelines would not be worth that benefit.

"Democrats believe Republicans are exacting revenge on Manchin and Democrats for steamrolling them this summer," said the report. The majority party passed a microchip bill with bipartisan votes, then announced a deal between Manchin and Schumer that plowed hundreds of billions of dollars into fighting climate change, imposed a corporate minimum tax and extended expiring health care subsidies. 'I think they just don’t want to give another win to either a Democratic Senate or a Joe Manchin,' said Sen. Martin Heinrich (D-N.M.)."