Skip to main content

Sign up for our newsletter.

Quality journalism. Progressive values. Direct to your inbox.

Joe Biden and Joe Manchin

President Joe Biden speaks with Senator Joe Manchin (D-WV) on the South Lawn of the White House in Washington, DC after a celebration of the Inflation Reduction Act on September 13th, 2022. (Photo: Nathan Posner/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images)

'We Don't Owe Joe Manchin Anything!' Opposition to Dirty Side Deal Grows

"The science is clear," said one climate campaigner. "If we want a habitable planet, we cannot afford this dirty deal."

Jon Queally

Just as it was reported Friday that the White House has been pressuring lawmakers in Congress to back the inclusion of a fossil fuel permitting side deal in a must-pass funding package this month, Senator Ed Markey became the latest to voice his opposition to the controversial proposal opposed by climate campaigners.

The permitting legislation was proposed by Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) amid negotiations to pass the Inflation Reduction Act, but critics warn any increase in the rubberstamping of dirty fossil projects would undermine much of the progress toward emissions reductions the IRA would provide.

While acknowledging that some reforms to the federal government's permitting process might be warranted, Markey said in a Friday statement he shared "concerns about permitting provisions that could negatively impact communities" on the frontlines of such polluting and harmful projects.

"I will be talking with my colleagues about whether this package can reflect the values of environmental justice," the Massachusetts Democrat continued. "As a way forward is discussed, and especially as new anti-environment proposals are being brought to the permitting discussions, we should not attach the permitting overhaul package to the must-pass government funding legislation."

In a call to action on Saturday, the advocacy group Our Revolution said its members were mobilizing to stop the deal in its tracks. According to the group:

Manchin's dirty deal is a wishlist literally written by fossil fuel lobbyists, and he wants Chuck Schumer to attach it to a must-pass bill to fund the government — which will be voted on by the House before Sept. 30! 

We can't let Manchin hold us hostage. 

He already killed the most impactful climate portions of the Democratic agenda and Manchin got plenty of fossil fuel favors in the Inflation Reduction Act — we don't owe Joe Manchin anything!

Last week, over 70 members of the U.S. House—led by Rep. Raul Grijalva (D-Ariz.)—issued a letter to Democratic leaders that also called for the permitting proposal to be decoupled from the continuing resolution (or CR), that if not passed would result in a government shutdown just weeks ahead of the midterms. More than 80 signers have now backed the letter's demands.

Citing people familiar with the matter, Axios reported Friday that White House chief of staff Ron Klain was personally calling House lawmakers, including Congressional Progressive Caucus chair Rep. Pramila Jayapal (D-Wash.), in an effort to gain backing for what's become known as Manchin's "dirty side deal."

In remarks to Axios, Jayapal reiterated that progressives in the House "don't like" what's in the Manchin side deal and, she said, "We didn't agree to it."

For his part, Grijalva told the outlet: "We understand the White House's consternation. Maybe they are upset about the fact that this has not been going as it was planned."

In a speech on the Senate floor last week, Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) said that he would be an adamant "no" on the CR if the permitting reforms put forward by Manchin—and backed by Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.)—are included.

"We have got to have the courage to finally tell the fossil fuel industry that the future of this planet is more important than their short-term profits," Sanders said.

During a virtual town meeting with outside climate campaigners at Greenpeace USA and Our Revolution on Thursday, Rep. Ro Khanna (D-Calif.) made clear he was "with Bernie Sanders" on opposing any CR that includes the provisions.

"You can't sacrifice frontline community," said Khanna. "And that's what this would do. It would basically allow expedited permitting for fossil fuel projects through communities that are winning those fights on the ground. They won those fights legitimately in courts and this would give the president the ability to just ride roughshod over years of opposition, years of struggle, and give a green light to fossil infrastructure."

In his mind, Khanna said "the IRA was the compromise" legislation and there's simply no way the permitting side deal, negotiated behind closed doors, should be allowed passage.

"Frankly, we need more people to say what Bernie Sanders and I are saying," he said, "which is we’re going to vote no if push comes to shove on this."

During the event, Greenpeace USA chief program officer Tefere Gebre said the stakes are too high to allow the deal to go through unopposed.

"The science is clear. If we want a habitable planet, we cannot afford this dirty deal," Tefere said. "We already paid an incredibly high price for the fossil fuel handouts in the IRA—we can and must stop this deal."


Our work is licensed under Creative Commons (CC BY-NC-ND 3.0). Feel free to republish and share widely.

We've had enough. The 1% own and operate the corporate media. They are doing everything they can to defend the status quo, squash dissent and protect the wealthy and the powerful. The Common Dreams media model is different. We cover the news that matters to the 99%. Our mission? To inform. To inspire. To ignite change for the common good. How? Nonprofit. Independent. Reader-supported. Free to read. Free to republish. Free to share. With no advertising. No paywalls. No selling of your data. Thousands of small donations fund our newsroom and allow us to continue publishing. Can you chip in? We can't do it without you. Thank you.

NC Dems Plead for Cash as Beasley Deadlocked With GOP Opponent in Decisive US Senate Race

Democratic nominee Cheri Beasley has a one-point lead, but Trump-backed U.S. Rep. Ted Budd is getting more support from the Republican Party.

Kenny Stancil ·


Top Central Banks Told to Stop 'Bankrolling' Deforestation

"At a time when the climate crisis is ravaging countries across the world, it is unacceptable," a Global Witness campaigner said of the institutions' corporate bond-buying practices.

Jessica Corbett ·


'Obscene,' Says Sanders After CBO Reports Richest 1% Now Owns Over 1/3 of US Wealth

"In the richest country on Earth, the time is long overdue for us to create a government and an economy that works for all of us, not just the 1%."

Brett Wilkins ·


Demanding Broad Reforms, Thousands of Inmate Workers on Strike at Alabama Prisons

"The DOJ's intervention has done nothing to shift conditions inside Alabama prisons," said one supporter. "They remain incredibly unsafe, inhumane, and exploitative."

Julia Conley ·


'We'll Beat You Again,' Say Climate Advocates as Biden Eyes New Path for Manchin's Dirty Deal

"Shame on President Biden and the White House for doubling down on environmental deregulation to benefit dirty industry," said one campaigner.

Jake Johnson ·

Common Dreams Logo