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Mother Nature Did Not Make a Side Deal with Joe Manchin

Sleep Walking Towards the Cliff with Manchin's Help

It’s been over 25 years since Congress has been able to pass a proper government budget, instead of allowing our country to limp along through yearly continuing resolutions. Each year, the threat of a partial government shutdown (typically by Republicans) is used to strong arm the few decent politicians we have left into supporting terrible legislation. This year is no different, with none other than our old “friend,” “baby-killer” Joe Manchin’s pet permitting reform as the “legislation du jour” for continuing resolution FY23. Senator Chuck Schumer apparently agreed to include the legislation in a private side-deal with Manchin in order to secure his vote for the IRA. A move which has understandably angered dozens of Democratic lawmakers, who remember all too well Manchin’s recent betrayals of the Democratic party. After all, it was less than a year ago, that Manchin killed Biden’s original, somewhat ambitious “build back better” agenda, once the Senator had secured passage of the corporate hand-out bill he’d supported. Passing the shadow of Biden’s agenda with the IRA, was the least the supposed Democrat Manchin could do, and House Democrats owe him nothing in this upcoming vote. Political vindictiveness alone, however immediately satisfying and deserving it might feel, is not enough to threaten a partial government shutdown. These negotiations and stakes aren’t just theoretical, they affect thousands of lives and families. With so many people near the brink, the loss of a paycheck or healthcare could be the tipping point to disaster for many Americans. Wagering so many people’s well-being should only be done to prevent even greater harm. In this case, though, Manchin’s side-deal is as odious as the Senator himself: primarily focused on “streamlining” permitting for fossil fuel development. It’s no surprise, that one of the primary beneficiaries of this proposed legislation would be a WV natural gas pipeline, currently held up in development. As ever, Manchin show’s his deep comfort with making others suffer as he stuffs his own pockets. What you might have missed during these political stunts, was a recent climate report examining the danger of so-called climate tipping points in relation to our current economic activity. As with most recent climate news, the analysis was alarming: The world is currently on the brink of (and perhaps passed) multiple “disastrous” tipping points, from the collapse of Greenland’s ice cap, the collapse of ocean currents in the north Atlantic, and an abrupt melting of carbon-rich permafrost. With less than half a degree more global warming an additional five tipping points become possible, including changes to vast northern forests and the loss of almost all mountain glaciers. The timescale of each tipping point varies from years to centuries, but once in motion they are difficult, if not impossible to reverse. This analysis is especially sobering when current estimates place our trajectory on pace for 2.5 – 3 Celsius. New pipelines and faster fossil fuel development are simply incompatible with a livable future, and a functioning society. After the strains put on our global infrastructure this past Summer, even larger majorities of people, over 75% of Americans are clamoring for government action on the climate crisis. We cannot allow our government to cave to greedy psychopaths like Manchin, who would let the whole world burn for an extra dollar. To fight legislation like this we have to support our progressive legislators who are pledging to stand up against the insane side-deal. Let them know that you understand, that standing their ground now, is the Best way to start advocating for vulnerable Americans. Verbal support, and voting at the ballot box is only part of the equation. Time-and-again, our politicians show us they care more about the money today, than our well-being tomorrow. To stop our country from barreling off the cliff into climate disaster, we need economic power, wielded of, by, and for the people. So, join us each Tuesday, in growing solidarity, as we create an economic cudgel to ensure the only sweet heart deals, are the ones made on behalf of Americans at large!

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