Another fight that’s been dragging out for weeks is the side deal Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer made with Sen. Joe Manchin for his support of the Inflation Reduction Act, which is the big climate, health care, and tax bill Democrats passed using budget reconciliation in August. Schumer agreed to include in the funding bill a Manchin-sponsored bill to fast-track the energy permitting process, including ensuring that a pipeline he’s championing in West Virginia gets final approval. Nearly 90 House Democrats did not and do not agree to that, and have been pushing to do the permitting bill separate from the continuing resolution.
Last week House Democratic leaders suggested decoupling the Manchin provision from the funding bill. “We have agreed to bring up a vote, yes,” Speaker Nancy Pelosi said Wednesday. “We never agreed on how it would be brought up, whether it be on the CR, or independently or part of something else. So, we’ll just wait and see what the Senate does.” Since Manchin still has not produced legislative language for the proposal, and since Republicans have come up with their own bill rather than giving their support to his, it’s looking less and less likely that it’s going to happen.
Speaking of Republicans, the usual suspects in the House and Senate have been raising hell about the plans to have the spending bill last only until mid-December. They want it to go into January, arguing that the House will revert to Republicans in this election. “In light of that, why would Republicans cast one vote in favor of this tyranny?” Freedom Caucus Chair Scott Perry of Pennsylvania argued. The Senate agitators are clamoring about this too, including Rick Scott of Florida and Ted Cruz of Texas, of course. They won’t succeed in preventing the bill from passing. Too many Republicans are not secure enough in their offices to risk being responsible for a government shutdown.
Outside of the government funding fight, the Senate is going to continue to vote on judges, which is good. Democrats have decided to punt on forcing Republicans to vote on marriage equality until after the election, which is bad.
Both the House and Senate could also move on reforming the Electoral Count Act, a project that’s been dragging out for months and months in the Senate in a bipartisan process Sen. Susan Collins of Maine has been in charge of delaying. Perhaps to kickstart that, Reps. Zoe Lofgren of California and Liz Cheney of West Virginia have prepared their own proposal, informed by their work on the Jan. 6 committee. The House could take up that bill this week, while the Senate Rules Committee has scheduled a markup and vote on the Senate version next week.