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Politics How Manchin struck a miracle of a deal with Schumer, Pelosi and Biden

11:51  29 july  2022
11:51  29 july  2022 Source:   thehill.com

Some Democrats are pushing for a Hail Mary attempt to win over Manchin on a climate deal after September. The odds are stacked against them.

  Some Democrats are pushing for a Hail Mary attempt to win over Manchin on a climate deal after September. The odds are stacked against them. Democrats seem wary of going on another wild-goose chase to win over Senator Joe Manchin on climate after a year of negotiating chaos.Several Senate Democrats such as Sen. Ed Markey of Massachusetts are pressing for a Hail Mary shot to secure the support of Manchin on another spending package after September. Beginning with the new federal fiscal year in October, Democrats can craft another reconciliation bill separate from the one they aim to pass within weeks, also capable of skirting fierce GOP opposition and passing with only a simple majority vote. Democrats floated the maneuver last fall when final passage appeared achievable by the end of 2021.

A months-long standoff between Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) and Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) ended Wednesday when they reached a historic deal on deficit reduction, an Affordable Care Act extension, drug price reductions, climate and clean-energy investments to provide energy security, and expedited full-spectrum energy-permitting reform.

  How Manchin struck a miracle of a deal with Schumer, Pelosi and Biden © Provided by The Hill

Washington, the Democratic Party, and perhaps the world can breathe more easily again because — by some miracle of twisted turns and backflips — Schumer, Manchin, President Biden and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) are on the same page and seem committed to a new equilibrium on climate and energy security that has been elusive and inflaming the anxieties of those watching a disappearing Lake Mead, record-breaking heat in London, wildfires, landslides, hurricanes and out-of-whack weather just about everywhere. They also are aligned on taking real steps towards deficit reduction. And, as part of the deal, they accepted energy-permitting reform that not only pushes forward oil- and gas-lease development but also renewable energy investments.

Schumer rallies Democrats after surprise deal with Manchin

  Schumer rallies Democrats after surprise deal with Manchin WASHINGTON (AP) — Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer told fellow Senate Democrats on Thursday they now have an opportunity to achieve two “hugely important” priorities on health care and climate change, if they stick together and approve a deal he brokered with hold-out Democratic Sen. Joe Manchin. Schumer spoke at a private caucus meeting after the startling turnaround over an expansive agreement he and Manchin struck that had eluded them for months. The Democratic leader's comments were relayed by a person familiar with the meeting at the Capitol complex and granted anonymity to discuss it.

How did we get here?

Media headlines referred to a “major reversal” by Manchin. But that’s not true. This legislation has had many lives, and a couple of near-deaths. It once had been the $3.5 trillion Build Back Better spending conglomerate — or $6 trillion, if you count what Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) wanted — but then that came “un-conglomerated.”

But progressives like Rep. Ro Khanna (D-Calif.), understanding that something is better than nothing and new climate-directed investments are as fundamental to national security today as oil and gas in an energy-squeezed world, reached out to Manchin to consider a smaller bill that would spur national investments in climate-positive energy options. Talks started two months ago and then went cold; some folks thought those were dead and blamed Manchin. Then Sen. Mark Warner (D-Va.) pushed Manchin and Schumer to re-engage; Manchin’s priorities were inflation and the energy crisis, and Schumer was pushing for a political deadline.

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The details and scaffolding of all this matter, however. The nuances are where political opportunity and deal-making lie. The headlines that Manchin reversed himself or folded are flat-out wrong.

On June 13, Americans learned they were becoming poorer at a fast clip. The cost of basic daily staples, gas at the pump, a coffee and muffin at Starbucks, baby formula — everything up, and up more. Over a year, inflation surged from about 6 percent to 8 percent, then jumped to 9.1. None of the strategic oil reserve releases, or Biden’s jawboning of the shipping and transport industries, or the blame-Russia pivot, or the many read-outs of the administration saying “We are working on it” made a visible dent in inflation.

Inflation is at the core of America’s national anxiety. Americans get their tough economic lessons at the cash register. To the Biden administration’s credit, national economic adviser Brian Deese did tell reporters that the administration hoped rapidly falling energy prices might have a positive impact on the “next inflation figure” in August. But hope is not a strategy.

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  Democrats' proposed tax hikes probably won't affect you — in fact, they'll help you buy an electric vehicle and put solar panels on your house The surprise spending deal Democrats announced Wednesday aims to tax wealthy investors and corporations to pay for electric vehicle and solar rebates.The Inflation Reduction Act of 2022 is, as the name suggests, aimed at bringing down inflation. It would put billions towards climate spending and slash prescription drug prices. Rather than hiking taxes on individuals, or imposing a broad surtax on the ultra-wealthy — both previously proposed to cover spending — the package is narrowly targeting ultra-wealthy investors and corporations, while also stepping up IRS enforcement.

The evening that 9.1 percent inflation was announced, Manchin told Schumer — with whom he had been negotiating for two months on a reconciliation bill — that fellow Democrats who wanted a trillion-dollar package of climate, energy and other potential social infrastructure would just pour fuel on a raging inflationary fire. Manchin told reporters that he said to the Senate leader, “Chuck, don’t you think we ought to wait for a month, see where these inflation numbers are going? So we don’t make inflation worse?” He worried that tax hikes which were part of the negotiations, coming at the exact time interest rates were being set higher by the Federal Reserve, could have a huge impact on working families who already were gut-punched by higher supermarket prices.

Schumer erupted — and here is where things got really interesting.

Schumer and Sen. Debbie Stabenow (D-Mich.), in exasperated language, told leading environmental advocacy and corporate stakeholders that Manchin betrayed them, had moved the goal post once again, and was completely undependable. Sen. Martin Heinrich (D-N.M.) said Manchin should be removed as Senate Energy Committee chairman; President Biden told a reporter he had no idea what Manchin was thinking, because he hadn’t negotiated with him.

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Manchin became toxic, and Schumer helped make him Public Enemy No. 1 to Democratic progressives who believed Manchin was beholden to a coal/fossil fuel industry that helped make his family wealthy. At the same time, Manchin’s popularity in West Virginia (and with Republicans and some independents) soared; many who thought he purposely derailed the reconciliation bill and tax hikes within it applauded him.


Video: Sen. Manchin reaches deal with Schumer on reconciliation bill (NBC News)

But it was untrue that Manchin gave up on climate and energy as part of a reconciliation bill. The stressed-out, high-angst stories ​about Manchin yet again blowing up things were wrong.

Manchin never left the negotiating table, never quit trying to do a deal with Schumer. On July 15, in an interview with West Virginia MetroNews host Hoppy Kercheval, Manchin said he “hadn’t walked away from anything.” He said inflation was really hot and that “everything” in the reconciliation package under discussion had to be scrubbed to see if it would contribute to inflation; he said people were hurting, prices were surging, and the Senate shouldn’t make matters worse.

To those who believe Manchin doesn’t support clean-energy options, listen to him: In that interview, he said he was “pro-climate” but that America could not eliminate its fossil-fuel resources — particularly during a global energy nightmare caused by Russia’s energy brinkmanship and invasion of Ukraine. Manchin said unambiguously that he supported carbon capture, carbon sequestration, hydrogen, renewables, nuclear and more on the clean-energy front; he said oil and gas need to stay in the picture, that U.S.-developed fossil-fuel sources are far cleaner than most other international sources, and he emphasized an all-of-the-above approach.

Full transcript of "Face the Nation" on July 31, 2022

  Full transcript of On this "Face the Nation" broadcast, Sens. Joe Manchin and Pat Toomey joined John Dickerson.Click here to browse full transcripts of "Face the Nation.

From Manchin’s perspective, many on the progressive left define decarbonization as eliminating all fossil fuels. He believes a transition to a cleaner energy future means not buying dirty fuels from Russia, Iran or Venezuela, but bringing on-line “cleaner fossil fuel development” in the U.S. and among our closest partners, along with renewables and other climate-neutral options.

The administration finally realized Russia’s strength is cheap energy which it has weaponized; China’s strength is locking up critical mineral supplies and assuring a supply chain for everything it produces, then potentially weaponizing that. The Biden team saw that China’s Xi Jinping had a rope around America’s neck on so many critical mineral fronts​ and that Europe doesn’t have enough supply to get through the winter, even as they flirted with potentially lifting limits on far dirtier oil from Iran and Venezuela. And so the White House and Schumer came to Manchin’s view that we need to work with our most-favored partners, like Canada and Australia, to reform energy-permitting across the board to develop cleaner fossil-fuel sources and critical mineral mining and production. It takes two years in a developing country to create an energy platform, but more than ten years in the U.S.

Manchin believes it makes zero sense to commit to massive leaps in electric vehicle deployment when the U.S. doesn’t have the key materials — computer chips, battery components, extraction and processing of critical minerals, a supply chain — to do it. American economic and national security both need to secure these pathways and do so in a way that transitions to a lower-carbon economy. The alliance between Manchin, Schumer, Pelosi and Biden on this legislation may change that.

Inside Joe Manchin’s non-stop media tour after secret Schumer deal

  Inside Joe Manchin’s non-stop media tour after secret Schumer deal Sen. Joe Manchin (D-WV) appeared on every major Sunday political talk show to defend his surprise energy, health care, and tax deal with Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer's (D-NY) following criticism from both sides of the aisle. The West Virginia senator, who unveiled the Inflation Reduction Act on Wednesday, completed a virtual version of a "full Ginsburg" on Sunday by appearing on the five largest weekend news programs: CNN's State of the Union, Fox News Sunday, ABC's This Week, CBS's Face the Nation and NBC's Meet the Press.

Manchin never left the negotiating table; Schumer did. Schumer then persuaded other senators to believe Manchin wasn’t worth the time, and never would come around. Schumer believed a climate/energy package was not possible and was going to settle for a “skinny bill” that mainly achieved drug-pricing reform. Manchin had always said that bill could pass that night, or six months ago, and it was worth the effort to try and get more than a skinny bill done — but they had to avoid pouring an accelerant on inflation and had to assure America’s energy security in the process.

Manchin’s package always included provisions to lower drug prices and adjust some taxes. He wanted Affordable Care Act subsidies extended; he was pushing for expedited permitting reforms for all energy tracks. He wanted full-spectrum energy investments — renewables and opened, expedited leases for oil, gas and critical minerals development. He wanted firms to pay their fair share through a minimum tax, since many firms with book values of more than $1 billion had figured out how to pay little if any taxes. And he wanted a solid commitment to deficit reduction, which should be part of the White House’s inflation-fighting strategy.

The truth is this: Manchin did not wait for the August inflation numbers because he secured $300 billion of deficit reduction in a $739 billion bill. That’s why this legislation which has climate, energy and drug provisions is called the Inflation Reduction Act of 2022. On top of that, he worked the administration down from a $3.5 trillion spending bill to a $439 billion investment in climate and energy investments, drug-price negotiations and more. He fought for a 15 percent minimum corporate tax on billion-dollar-plus companies, and agreed to robust climate-friendly energy options while not taking current energy sources off the table.

Naomi Biden, the president's granddaughter, will hold wedding ceremony on the White House South Lawn

  Naomi Biden, the president's granddaughter, will hold wedding ceremony on the White House South Lawn Naomi Biden announced on Twitter Thursday that her wedding ceremony will be on the South Lawn of the White House. Naomi, 28, tweeted a photo of the lawn with a view of the Washington Monument on Thursday with the caption, "Sooo not sure how best to update but was supposed to do so weeks ago…but we have finally figured out where the ceremony will be…and much to the relief of secret service and with the dogs' endorsement…we'll be getting married on the South Lawn! Couldn't be more excited.

One of Manchin’s critics, Sen. Tina Smith (D-Minn.) tweeted: “Holy shit. Stunned, but in a good way. $370B for climate and energy and 40% emissions reduction by 2030. BFD.”

This is the package Manchin wanted pretty much from Day One.

The altered environment that made it possible was the 9.1 percent inflation figure, which many Democrats seemed to pretend didn’t matter. The fact is that, just like a warming planet and proliferating violent weather matter, so too does runaway inflation. Not taming inflation undermines the political foundation to solve America’s and the world’s climate crisis and other needs.

What is real and what many continue to miss is that Manchin remained consistent with what he wanted throughout, including a climate/energy deal he has talked about for months. He kept telling Schumer that the end of the fiscal year is Sept. 30 and there was potentially a good deal to be had that would reduce debt, make key investments in energy security and climate, and help families with rising costs of food, fuel and health.

Schumer, to his credit, got over his frustrations. Connecting with some senators in Aspen, Colo., this past week, I was told they believed there was zero chance that Schumer would tack back to dealing with Manchin even though there was still time on the clock. Schumer apparently surprised them, did the right thing and reversed, then got Pelosi and Biden on board — without anyone knowing.

It took a lot to get this done. Most senators did not know a deal was in the works. There was no final deal on Monday or Tuesday this week. It happened Wednesday, when Schumer, Pelosi and the White House came around to where Manchin basically always had been.

This package still will face resistance from some quarters, as this is a realist reconciliation bill, not a utopian one. But all this shows that even when things look their bleakest in politics, miracles can happen.

Steve Clemons is founding editor at large of Semafor, a digital global media startup, and a contributing editor at The Hill. Follow him on Twitter @SCClemons.

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Naomi Biden, the president's granddaughter, will hold wedding ceremony on the White House South Lawn .
Naomi Biden announced on Twitter Thursday that her wedding ceremony will be on the South Lawn of the White House. Naomi, 28, tweeted a photo of the lawn with a view of the Washington Monument on Thursday with the caption, "Sooo not sure how best to update but was supposed to do so weeks ago…but we have finally figured out where the ceremony will be…and much to the relief of secret service and with the dogs' endorsement…we'll be getting married on the South Lawn! Couldn't be more excited.

usr: 0
This is interesting!