Legislation designed to accelerate the approval process for permitting energy infrastructure is facing opposition from Republicans who doubt the bill will help the fossil-fuel industry and who are not happy it was linked to the Inflation Reduction Act passed by Senate Democrats, according to The Wall Street Journal.
Saying it would cut down on the excessive delays that are common in permitting energy infrastructure projects, Sen. Joe Manchin, D-W.Va., put the bill together as a companion measure to the tax-and-climate plan.
While the Inflation Reduction Act was passed by the Senate with a 51-vote majority in a reconciliation bill Sunday, the permitting legislation is not considered a reconciliation measure. Because the Senate requires 60 votes for other types of legislation, Democrats will need to garner the support of at least some Republicans for it to pass.
According to the Journal, GOP members of the chamber are already indicating that they will move to thwart an attempt by the Democrats to attach the bill to a continuing resolution, which would ensure that the government’s obligations are funded past the end of the fiscal year on Sept. 30.
Although making the permitting process easier for new energy projects has been something that many Republicans have long backed, the Journal reports that GOP leaders are needled that the proposal is tied to the Inflation Reduction Act, which earmarks almost $370 billion to combat climate change and raises taxes on some businesses.
Manchin negotiated the permitting deal in exchange for his support on the tax-and-climate legislation and Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., on Friday said he is calling on other Republicans to block the permitting bill unless they are each given the same treatment as Manchin.
"I will not vote for a continuing resolution that’s part of a political payback scheme," Graham said at a press conference, adding that Republicans should request special concessions for each of their states. "If they won't do that, we should have a continuing resolution that's clean."
According to a senior Democrat congressional aide, Democrat leaders in the Senate are expecting Republicans to back down, as a vote against the continuing resolution could cause the government to shut down weeks before the midterm elections.
Vice President Kamala Harris cast the tiebreaking vote on the Inflation Reduction Act on Sunday and it passed 51-50.
The legislation allocates billions of dollars for healthcare and climate programs while also raising taxes on large corporations.
The House is expected to vote on the proposal on Friday.
Manchin’s home state of West Virginia is a major coal and gas producer. In a bid to increase production of all kinds of domestic energy, Manchin pressed top Democrats, including President Joe Biden, to agree to the permitting changes, according to the Journal.
According to Manchin's office, their agreement also ensures the approval of the Mountain Valley Pipeline that connects West Virginia gas producers to outside buyers.
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