Manchin accuses Republicans of stealing credit for pipeline approval

 June 2, 2023

West Virginia Democratic senator Joe Manchin accused Republicans of trying to steal credit for the Mountain Valley Pipeline after the project's approval was tucked into the deal to raise the debt limit.

The 300-mile pipeline runs through Manchin's home state and is mostly finished but has been held up by permitting issues.

Manchin said he's the one who has been championing the pipeline all along.

"You know, what we said before — success has many fathers, but failure is an orphan."

Manchin's pipeline?

Manchin controversially bundled the pipeline with broader energy-permitting reforms that Republicans found unsatisfactory when the issue came up for a vote in December.

The White House had agreed to vote on the pipeline in exchange for Manchin's support of Biden's climate bill, the Inflation Reduction Act.

Manchin used a vulgarity to scold Republicans who are now claiming victory over the pipeline, saying they only rejected his permitting reforms out of petty anger over his vote for the IRA.

"It's bulls--- because they knew there was not going to be a problem on the Democratic Senate side or the Democrat president and his staff because they were the ones who supported it and got us 40 votes in the Senate when we voted," Manchin said.

Progressives livid

Ironically, Manchin has since disavowed the IRA as he faces a potentially brutal re-election fight in a Trump-friendly state. The pipeline's approval is a feather in his cap that could help him distance himself from Biden's climate agenda.

Most Democrats have been reluctant to take ownership of the pipeline's approval. 28 Democrats voted in a last-ditch effort to block the pipeline that was brought by Senator Tim Kaine (D-Va.), but the amendment failed with a handful of Democrats crossing the aisle to join the Republicans.

While Manchin goes back and forth with Republicans over who deserves the credit, progressives have blasted the debt limit deal as a win for the fossil fuel industry.

The White House has claimed victory, saying the permitting reforms will pave the way for more "clean" energy installations.

"These changes will help us build more quickly and responsibly; build more solar, build more wind, EV chargers, transmission, and the other infrastructure we need to secure a clean energy economy," the White House said.

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