Bernie Sanders says he’ll vote against keeping the government open if Manchin’s ‘disastrous side-deal’ on energy is included
- Sanders said he'd oppose a short-term government funding bill if it included a Manchin deal on energy.
- The bill is set to ease regulations around building a new oil pipeline.
Sen. Bernie Sanders of Vermont said on Thursday that he'd oppose a short-term government funding bill if Democratic leaders attached legislation meant to ease construction of crude oil pipelines and other energy infrastructure.
"I will not vote for any bill that makes it easier for Big Oil to destroy the planet and that includes approving the Mountain Valley Pipeline," the Vermont independent wrote on Twitter. "The Continuing Resolution must not be held hostage by Big Oil."
The continuing resolution is a bill designed to keep the government funded for several weeks while Democrats and Republicans craft a year-long spending bill. The measure includes permitting reforms meant to speed up the approval of energy infrastructure projects including the Mountain Valley Pipeline in Sen. Joe Manchin's home state of West Virginia.
Sanders took to the Senate floor and pummeled the legislation, which Democratic leaders and President Joe Biden agreed to pass in an effort to secure Manchin's vote for the Inflation Reduction Act last month. Winning Manchin's support was crucial for the party to advance the slimmed-down version of Biden's economic agenda.
Progressive Democrats have fervently pushed back against the inclusion of the reforms, arguing they give the oil industry a boost when the country should be investing in renewable energy. The inclusion of permitting changes reflects a "disastrous side-deal" between Manchin and Democratic leadership, Sanders said, adding the reforms are in opposition with the energy policy the US should be pursuing.
"At a time when climate change is threatening the very existence of our planet, why would anyone be talking about substantially increasing carbon emissions and fossil fuel production?" Sanders said. He also warned of a revolt among House Democrats, saying "at least" 59 Democratic lawmakers would release a letter stating their opposition to the deal.
Manchin defended his position on Thursday, noting that the IRA included funding for several kinds of clean energy projects. Still, the senator from West Virginia argued that increased energy production from fossil fuels is needed to address more pressing energy demands.
"If I thought it was damaging for climate, I'd have never done it," Manchin told Insider. "We're talking about solar farms, wind farms, but we have to have the fossil horsepower that we need right now."
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