Pelosi reaffirms support for side deal with Manchin: ‘No way’

Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-California) on Thursday again signaled her support for an effort by Sen. Joe Manchin (DW.Va.) to accelerate energy infrastructure projects as part of a government spending package, as even as dozens of House Democrats opposed such a move.

Manchin published the text of his proposal on Wednesday evening. The president stressed Thursday that House lawmakers are waiting to see the details of any package the Senate might pass, and she left open the possibility that the House could amend a bill passed by the Senate.

Pelosi reiterated his support for the Manchin deal despite widespread liberal opposition within his own caucus, saying it was worth winning the centrist senator’s backing for a massive health and climate bill, that President Biden signed into law last month.

“We’ll have to see how it comes back from the Senate, and there might be some room for negotiation,” Pelosi told reporters on Capitol Hill. “But I’m not giving up $360 billion in support to save the planet for our children.”

Pressed on whether she supports the deal, Pelosi was adamant.

“I said I supported him, yes. I said that from the start,” she said. “There’s no way about it.”

The comments are sure to anger a number of progressive Democrats in the lower house, who are already furious that party leaders are backing an effort to fast-track fossil fuel projects amid a global climate crisis. Last week, a group of nearly 80 liberals signed a letter urging Democratic leaders to decouple Manchin’s proposal from the spending package.

“These destructive provisions will rush dirty manufacturing and energy development projects before families who are forced to live nearby even know about the plans,” the Liberals wrote.

Pelosi, along with other Democratic leaders, had endorsed the side deal with Manchin earlier this summer, promising to vote before October on his proposal to accelerate energy projects, known as enabling reform. In return, Manchin dropped his longstanding opposition to the much broader tax, health and climate legislation at the center of Biden’s domestic agenda, sending him to the president’s office.

The president indicated last week that she may support the Manchin deal if it is included in a Senate funding bill. Congress is rushing to pass a short-term spending measure this month, and without congressional action, large parts of the federal government will shut down on October 1.

On Thursday, Pelosi again suggested she could support the Mandchin language as part of a spending bill or continuing resolution (CR), pointing to the health and environmental provisions Democrats won in the under the Inflation Reduction Act.

“It’s historic,” she said. “We save the planet with [a] record $360 billion…and generate jobs, cleaner air and water, jobs, and security for our country.

Democrats hope the Senate will begin the process of moving the spending package to Congress, though GOP opposition to Manchin’s proposal has raised significant questions about whether licensing reform can pass through the upper house.

A “clean” CR, without the Manchin provision, would prevent a bitter infighting among Democrats when the bill hits the House — a dynamic Pelosi seemed to acknowledge Thursday.

“Let’s see what happens in the Senate,” she said, “and then we’ll deal with what we need to do in the House.”

The Senate is expected to kick off the floor review next Tuesday, and Pelosi said the House is ready to act immediately if it does.

“We already got into the authority the same day, so we don’t have to delay it in any way,” she said.

If the Senate stumbles in that effort, Pelosi added, “we’ll have to start over here.”

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