Scott has noted that Sen. Joe Manchin has “named his price point” on the spendapalooza bill: $1.5 trillion. Scott is right that this is still very bad, but it requires the progressives to shrink their wish list by more than half—by a full $2 trillion. I’d love to be a fly on the wall in the House Democratic caucus meetings and sub-meetings right now, because if there is no honor among thieves, imagine how painful it is to the progressive raiders of the treasury when they have to start trading off their once-in-a-generation wish lists.
Will the Progs agree to cut back universal Pre-K, or full Medicare vision and dental coverage? How about the $3 billion for “tree equity” (maybe my favorite part of the bill)? For that matter, how about the main features of the “Green New Deal”?
A lot of the leading House progressives are from safe Democratic seats, and will be resistant to any compromise. They may try to scale down everything on their wish list into super low-budget versions hoping to expand them later, but I doubt this would get by the CBO budget scoring review, let alone Manchin.
Actually, the plot thickens when you see Manchin’s conditions beyond the spending amounts. His memorandum of understanding with Schumer includes this key phrase: “Sole ENR jurisdiction on any clean energy standard.” This refers to the Senate Environment and Natural Resources Committee, of which he is the chairman. (This is another reason against Manchin switching parties: as chair of this key committee already, he gets nothing by switching, but if Democrats keep the Senate majority next year, he remains a roadblock to their energy craziness.)
The draft “reconciliation” bill includes a thing called the “Clean Energy Performance Plan” (or CEPP), which would reward states that reduce their carbon emissions from their electricity supply and penalize states that do not. In other words, it is an attempt to force states to adopt ambitious “renewable” energy sources. Really it is intended to be a wealth transfer from red states to blue states. I’m guessing this stands no chance of getting by Manchin.
Ironically, though, the CEPP might cost California if it passed, potentially as much as $1.5 billion in penalties. How could this be possible in “green” California? Simple: by closing down our last remaining nuclear power plant (Diablo Canyon) in three years, California’s greenhouse gas emissions are guaranteed to go up. Pay no attention to PG&E saying they will replace Diablo fully with renewables. They are flat out lying.
The whole story is complicated (and this is on purpose, of course), but the intricacies of the matter are explained by Zeke Hausfather, Adam Stein, and Alex Trembath of the Breakthrough Institute in their new study, “Costs of Closing Diablo Canyon Nuclear Plant Under the Clean Electricity Performance Program.” Look it over if you have a moment—it i first-rate analytical work by serious environmentalists (who, yes, are on the endangered species list because there are so few such beings).