Biden's Big Oil Play

Will there be any green skunks at Joe's Rose Garden party?


President Joe Biden—who is backing Sen. Joe Manchin’s (D-W.Va.) dirty pipeline deal—is gathering activists and supporters at the White House to celebrate the passage of the Inflation Reduction Act tomorrow afternoon. Climate Power, a coalition of the Center for American Progress, League of Conservation Voters, and the Sierra Club, is organizing a rally outside the White House to celebrate the climate elements of the legislation.

All three groups are on record opposing the dirty Manchin plan, but it is yet to be seen whether they are willing to be green skunks at Joe’s Rose Garden party tomorrow.

Meanwhile, Bloomberg’s Ari Natter reports that Manchin is enlisting Big Oil CEOs and mining executives in his attempt to get the necessary GOP support for his dirty plan. “Manchin is set to address chief executive officers at the Washington-based Business Roundtable’s quarterly meeting later this week.”

Supposed climate hawk Sen. Brian Schatz (D-Hawaii) is on Team Exxon-Manchin, while Sens. Jeff Merkley (D-Ore.) and Sheldon Whitehouse (D-R.I.) are reasonably skeptical that a Big Oil deal will be a good one for the climate. Green New Deal champions Ed Markey and Elizabeth Warren have notably remained silent.

Manchin, with the help of Biden and Senate leadership, is hoping to attach his dirty plan to this month’s must-pass continuing resolution—an attempt to usurp the House of Representatives’ Constitutional mandate to draft spending bills. This is no small part of the reason that seventy-two House Democrats, led by Natural Resources chair Raúl Grijalva (D-Ariz.), have signed on to a letter opposing the deal and defending their prerogative to draft a clean CR.

Meanwhile, the House is looking to pass several bills this week, including H.R. 5774 – Expediting Disaster Recovery Act, by Rep. Garrett Graves (R-La.) and H.R. 1066 – Wildfire Recovery Act, from Rep. Joe Neguse, D-Colo., and three backronymed bills from Sen. Gary Peters (D-Mich.):

  • S. 2293 –Civilian Reservist Emergency Workforce (CREW) Act

  • S. 4205 –Planning for Animal Wellness (PAW) Act

  • S. 442 –Bulb Replacement Improving Government with High-efficiency Technology (BRIGHT) Act

Wednesday morning is an absolute smasher of Congressional hearings of interest. Rep. Katie Porter (D-Calif.) is chairing a hearing on the role public relations firms have played in preventing action on climate change. Singer Associates, Story Partners, and Pac/West Communications were invited to testify but refused to attend. And Rep. Jamie Raskin (D-Md.) is chairing a hearing on how the fossil-fuel industry has intimidated environmental activists through lawsuits—including the wave of laws passed by 17 states to protect fossil-fuel pipelines from community protest.1

The House investigations of the fossil-fuel industry continue on Thursday, with Rep. Ro Khanna (D-Calif.) chairing an examination of Big Oil’s record-breaking profits and fossil-fueled climate disasters. Witnesses include Kara Boyd, president of the Association of American Indian Farmers; Thomas Joseph of the Hoopa Valley Tribe; Roishetta Ozane, Permian Basin organizing director for Healthy Gulf; and Mary Cromer, deputy director of Appalachian Citizens’ Law Center.

More Wednesday hearings: regenerative agriculture, global food security, the collapse of banking in the Caribbean, legislation to expand Tribal lands and protect Tribal cultural sites,2 Coast Guard authorization, and removing barriers to union organizing. In addition, self-driving-car lobbyist Shailen Bhatt has his nomination hearing to be put in charge of the Federal Highway Administration.

More Thursday hearings: nuclear fusion, a look at five years of recovery from Hurricanes Irma and Maria, and rail service and agriculture. Securities and Exchange Commissioner Gary Gensler will be grilled by the Senate Banking Committee—expect questions on the SEC’s plans for greenhouse pollution reporting rules.

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1 Which will be fast-tracked by the dirty Manchin deal.

2 Which will be put at risk by the dirty Manchin deal.

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