Climate Hawks Vote: We’re in DC, pushing Congress to dump Manchin’s dirty pipeline deal

  • Published on September 15th, 2022

Last week I talked, lobbied, and organized in the halls of the Democratic National Committee, in the corridors of Congress, and in the streets of Washington DC to stop Manchin’s dirty deal. I toured the White House, saw the new portraits of Barack and Michelle Obama, talked to a few more friends and reporters, and thought about what’s next.

climate hawks vote logoBy RL Miller
Climate Hawks Vote

I still believe we can stop Manchin’s dirty deal, and I’ll tell you why and how.

First let’s catch up on what happened in the last few days:

I was in DC all week to fight Manchin’s dirty deal. We’ve fought via a resolution at the DNC, in Congress where everyone is lobbying over Manchin’s dirty deal – even though nobody has seen a copy of the bill, except for Manchin and the American Petroleum Institute.

It’s a big, complicated story. So let’s break it down a bit.

First, Manchin’s dirty deal is a grab bag of pro-polluter policy. It takes aim at the National Environmental Protection Act (NEPA) and the Clean Water Act,, two bedrock environmental protection laws. It adds barriers to public consultation and indigenous rights to free prior and informed consent.

Senator Bernie Sanders came out swinging on Thursday morning (on his birthday, no less) with a powerful speech on the floor of the US Senate. Sanders is the first climate hawk in the Senate to say that not only does he not like Manchin’s dirty deal, but that he’d vote against an otherwise “must pass” spending bill if Manchin tries to attach his deal to it.

Across town at the DNC, I was defending my resolution, which also denounced Manchin’s dirty deal and was backed by more than 50 elected officials and a host of state and local Democratic Party officials. Usually, if a policy is opposed by a sitting US senator and a host of grassroots Democrats, you’d expect a resolution like mine to pass easily. But DNC leadership doesn’t want to embarrass the White House, or so I’ve been repeatedly told.

The White House and Senate leader Schumer were so unconvinced that they put out twin statements supporting Manchin’s dirty deal. But that was before we held a spirited rally on the Capitol grounds that united frontline leaders from Alaska to Appalachia in opposing the dirty deal. Against the backdrop of  mountain music fiddling, we listened to powerful speeches from frontline, black, brown, and indigenous leaders, we sang spirituals, and we made our demands clear: no more sacrifice zones.

No more fossil fuels.

No dirty deal.

The tide is beginning to turn. Friday, more than 70 House Democrats sent a letter to Speaker Pelosi and the White House echoing our DNC resolution and Sen Sanders’ floor speech. Just as important as how many, and which members signed the letter – 15 members of the Hispanic Caucus, 27 members of the Black Caucus, 13 members of the New Democrats coalition. In short, a broad spectrum of Congressional Democrats oppose Manchin’s dirty deal, not just the usual white progressives and climate hawks.

By Friday, even moderate senator Tim Kaine of Virginia was sounding nervous about Manchin’s dirty deal.

Which brings me to what’s next, and why we need your support to keep fighting. Most DNC members, as well as our frontline speakers and advocates from the Thursday rally, flew home last weekend. I did not.

I stayed to attend a White House ceremony to celebrate the Inflation Reduction Act Tuesday, and because we’re not done fighting Manchin’s dirty deal. Senators I’ve talked to expect the dirty deal, and the must-pass continuing resolution Manchin wants to attach it to, to be introduced next week. With all the support we’ve built and demonstrated this week, this will be the perfect chance to convince President Biden to come out against the dirty deal.

Chip in $3.50 or more to keep me in DC, keep building opposition to Manchin’s dirty deal, and convince President Biden to join us as the climate hawk President we know he can be.

Your fellow climate hawk,

RL Miller

“Sanders blasts permitting reform as Democrats’ divide grows,” E&E News


About the Author

The chair of the Democratic Environmental Caucus, RL Miller also runs Climate Hawks Vote, which backs candidates for office who are serious about taking action on climate change.

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