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Sen. Joe Manchin released legislative language on Wednesday to loosen the enabling energy he wants to include in a must-have government funding bill, and now hopes enough Republicans and Democrats can back his plan he’s crafted. earlier this year with the Senate Majority Leader. Chuck Schumer, DN.Y.
Schumer told Manchin, DW.Va., that he would include enabling reform language because Manchin agreed to vote for the Democrats’ social tax and spending bill they passed in August. But he faces growing bipartisan opposition from upset Republicans. Manchin helped Democrats pass the tax and spending bill, as well as progressives who oppose new energy projects.
The release of the language will likely force senators who have been on the fence supporting the bill to ultimately decide whether they can agree to the permissions reform on the funding bill. The level of support for Manchin’s legislation will likely determine the extent of the government’s ropeside shutdown for next week.
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Congress must pass the bill by the end of the month to avoid a partial government shutdown.
Democratic staffers familiar with the text said the bill follows very closely to a bill that Sen. Shelley Moore Capito, RW.Va., proposed last week, which Republicans have rallied to lately. days. However, Capito’s bill fully adopts some Trump-era regulations, while Manchin’s does only partially.
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A provision in Manchin’s bill dealing with the Clean Water Act would reduce several charges that slow energy projects, according to Democratic staffers. But it would also require developers to provide more information to state and tribal agencies about their plans.
Schumer reiterated on Tuesday that licensing reform will be included in the funding bill and that he is committed to passing it. Manchin, meanwhile, decried the GOP’s opposition to the deal as a “personal attack” on him.
“We’re going to vote and it will be in the CR,” Manchin said. “And if they’re willing to say, ‘We’re going to shut down the government because of a personal attack on me…’ That’s what makes people sick of politics.”
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A Democratic aide familiar with the situation said: ‘It’s going to be very difficult for the R’s to defend why they’re voting against this. ‘We’re not going to do Joe Manchin any favors’ is not a good explanation for Americans who pay sky-high energy costs.”
Top Republicans are leaning toward Capito’s bill. Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., predicted Thursday that Manchin’s energy permit bill would be “weak” and reform “in name only.”