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Sen. Joe Manchin on Tuesday asked Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer to remove energy permitting language from a government funding bill after he failed to secure enough support for the proposal.
“It is unfortunate that members of the United States Senate are allowing politics to put the energy security of our nation at risk,” Manchin, D-W.Va., said in a statement. “A failed vote on something as critical as comprehensive permitting reform only serves to embolden leaders like Putin who wish to see America fail.”
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Manchin added: “For that reason and my firmly held belief that we should never come to the brink of a government shutdown over politics, I have asked Majority Leader Schumer to remove the permitting language from the Continuing Resolution we will vote on this evening.”
Manchin made a deal last month with Schumer, D-N.Y., to vote for Democrats’ social spending and taxation bill in exchange for Schumer bringing energy permitting reform for a Senate vote. They intended to attach a permitting reform proposal from Manchin to a “continuing resolution” to temporarily fund the government until after the elections.
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But Republicans angry at Manchin for backing the social spending and taxation bill, and progressives who don’t want to make energy projects easier, joined forces against the bill. They had enough votes to prevent the funding bill from getting over the 60-vote filibuster threshold as long as Manchin’s proposal was there.
Manchin multiple times lamented the unlikely “bedfellows.”
Schumer put the blame squarely on Republicans.
“Senate Republicans have made very clear they will block legislation to fund the government if it includes bipartisan permitting reform,” Schumer said. “They’ve chosen to obstruct instead of work in a bipartisan way to achieve something they’ve long claimed they wanted to do.”
Republicans, meanwhile, said the process behind the proposal was what killed it.
“It was a Schumer-Manchin sweetheart deal to start with,” Senate Minority Whip John Thune, R-S.D., told Fox News Digital. “Members on both sides … were just wary of going in and entering into a deal that was cut in that fashion.”
“I was prepared to support the bill largely because it would have expedited the Mountain Valley Pipeline, which my legislation also would have done,” Sen. Shelley Moore Capito, R-W.Va., said in a statement. “But when legislating is done via backroom deals and with input from only one party, it is extremely difficult to garner broad support.”
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Schumer said that he will still aim to uphold his deal with Manchin before the end of the year — and some Republicans said they believe permitting reform could be possible in the Senate’s lame duck session.
“Sen. Manchin, myself and others will continue to have conversations about the best way to ensure responsible permitting reform is passed before the end of the year,” Schumer added.
“We have to get comprehensive permitting reform, and I’m going to keep working with Joe Manchin to get it,” Sen. Dan Sullivan, R-Alaska, told Fox News Digital. “Already, we’re talking about improving his bill and putting it on the NDAA.”