Democrat calls for stand-alone vote on permitting deal, saying he doesn’t feel ‘obligation’ to vote for it
Rep. Raúl Grijalva (D-Ariz.) told The Hill on Friday that he will push for the permitting deal between Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) and Democratic leadership to be a standalone vote — rather than attached to another vehicle that may incentivize more of his colleagues to vote for it.
Grijalva said that he and a handful of colleagues planned to make a request on Friday that the vote — on an agreement he fears will weaken environmental standards — be a standalone.
He said he hopes the reforms are not attached to must-pass legislation such as a continuing resolution, which keeps the government funded temporarily in the absence of an appropriations bill.
“We’re going to start early to urge a separate vote,” said Grijalva, chairman of the House Natural Resources Committee and former co-chairman of the Congressional Progressive Caucus.
“I’m going to make my request … and I hope that they understand. This is not trying to torpedo anything, this is saying the [continuing resolution] and the budget is critical, yes, but let’s do this other one where everybody is accountable,” he added.
He particularly referenced uncertainty as to whether Republicans will vote in favor of the Manchin-Schumer deal, given its ties to the Inflation Reduction Act agreement.
“Why should Democrats deliver the Republican agenda on these issues when they’re unified in voting against everything?” he said.
He acknowledged that there is a deal between Manchin and Senate Majority Leader Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.) to advance the permitting reform deal, but said he doesn’t feel an “obligation” to uphold a deal that he did not help negotiate.
“I don’t feel an obligation … to support the deal,” Grijalva said. “I didn’t shake hands, I wasn’t part of the negotiations.”
When Manchin and Schumer announced they had reached a deal on the climate and tax legislation, they also agreed to take up reforms to the environmental reviews that are required in order to permit energy or other construction projects.
They said that they reached an agreement with President Biden and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) to pass the changes before the end of the fiscal year in October.
Grijalva, meanwhile, echoed concerns from environmentalists that expediting these reviews could harm vulnerable groups, as the reviews are typically meant to prevent harm to nearby communities.
“One of my prerogatives is that if I’m opposed to it — to vote against it,” he said.