Democratic West Virginia Sen. Joe Manchin backed down from including his energy permitting overhaul in a government funding resolution Tuesday evening after a bipartisan group of senators threatened to block it.
Federal funding is scheduled to run out Sept. 30, and the continuing resolution introduced by Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer of New York would pay for the government to stay open through Dec. 16. As part of Manchin’s support for the Inflation Reduction Act, Schumer promised the moderate that the Senate would pass his permitting reform proposal. The Energy Independence and Security Act would speed up completion of the Mountain Valley Pipeline, a more-than-300 mile pipeline that would transport natural gas from West Virginia to Virginia, and amend the National Environmental Policy Act or the Clean Water Act to require federal agencies to approve or reject energy projects faster.
“It is unfortunate that members of the United States Senate are allowing politics to put the energy security of our nation at risk. The last several months, we have seen firsthand the destruction that is possible as Vladimir Putin continues to weaponize energy. A failed vote on something as critical as comprehensive permitting reform only serves to embolden leaders like Putin who wish to see America fail. 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 said in a statement.
My statement on the decision to remove the comprehensive permitting reform language from the Continuing Resolution: pic.twitter.com/M0lARzHp8x
— Senator Joe Manchin (@Sen_JoeManchin) September 27, 2022
“I stand ready to work with my colleagues to move forward on this critical legislation to meet the challenges of delivering affordable reliable energy Americans desperately need,” he added. (RELATED: Joe Manchin Blasts Bernie Sanders’ ‘Oblivious’ Opposition To Energy Deal Amid Threat Of Government Shutdown)
Manchin had previously threatened to side with Republicans and shut down the government if his permitting reform was removed from the continuing resolution. Independent Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders, as well as left-wing House Democrats led by Arizona Rep. Raul Grijalva, also threatened a government shutdown. Other Democratic opponents included Virginia Sen. Tim Kaine and Illinois Sen. Tammy Duckworth.
Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky whipped Republicans against the provision, although Manchin’s fellow West Virginia senator, Republican Shelley Moore Capito, came out in favor of it.
“Given what Senator Manchin did on the reconciliation bill, [it’s] engendered a lot of bad blood,” Republican Texas Sen. John Cornyn told Politico of the package. “There’s not a lot of sympathy on our side to provide Sen. Manchin a reward.”
Manchin announced his support just hours after 17 Republican senators voted in favor the CHIPS and Science Act. McConnell had threatened to pull Republican support from the research and development package if Democrats continued with reconciliation negotiations.