Energy & Environment — Schumer tries to keep Manchin deal, avert shutdown

·5 min read

Majority Leader Charles Schumer is trying to find a way to keep his promise to Sen. Joe Manchin intact while avoiding a government shutdown. Meanwhile, the Biden administration is making energy investments.

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Schumer tries to keep Manchin deal, avert shutdown

Senate Majority Leader Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.) is looking for a way to avoid a government shutdown next week while also keeping his promise to Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) to pass permitting reform before October. 

Many Senate Republicans say they will vote against the government funding measure if it includes Manchin’s permitting reform bill, and a group of Democrats are pressing Schumer to separate the continuing resolution and permitting reform.

That means Schumer is likely to fall short of the 60 votes he needs to overcome an expected filibuster to a short-term government funding resolution that also includes Manchin’s permitting reform legislation, which would alter the federal approval process for energy projects.

  • Schumer has promised Manchin that he will include permitting reform in the stopgap funding measure, which must pass by Sept. 30 to avoid a government shutdown.   

  • The Democratic leader appears committed — at least as of this week — to rounding up the votes.

Asked Thursday if he’s confident Manchin’s permitting reform proposal will stay in the short-term funding resolution, Schumer gave a terse reply: “yes.” 

Republicans say that means Schumer and Manchin will have to make significant changes to the permitting reform bill to pick up more GOP votes.

But any concessions to Republicans will further anger environmental justice groups who are upset that Schumer promised to pass permitting reform in order to secure Manchin’s support for a sweeping climate, tax and prescription drug reform bill last month.

“The thing that always helps get legislation moving [is] if people are willing to take good, constructive suggestions. That’s what I’ve been telling those guys for a couple of weeks now,” said Sen. Dan Sullivan (R-Alaska). “We’ll see if they’re interested in making some changes. That’s always a way to get more votes.”

  • Some Democrats are already making the argument that if Schumer brings the continuing resolution with Manchin’s language to the floor for a vote and it fails, he will have fulfilled his promise to Manchin that won the West Virginian senator’s backing for the Inflation Reduction Act.

  • “Sen. Schumer promised a vote to Sen. Manchin on a must-pass bill and we’ll take that vote,” said Senate Democratic Whip Dick Durbin (Ill.), who noted that Manchin doesn’t know how many Republican votes he’ll get for his proposal.

COUNTING THE VOTES

Schumer and Manchin will have to find more than 10 Republican votes because Sens. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) and Tim Kaine (D-Va.) have signaled they will vote against the continuing resolution if it includes Manchin’s permitting reform proposal.

Sens. Jeff Merkley (D-Ore.), Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.), Cory Booker (D-N.J.), Tammy Duckworth (D-Ill.), Chris Van Hollen (D-Md.) and Ben Cardin (D-Md.) have also expressed concerns, but haven’t gone as far as saying they would vote against funding the government.

Some GOP support, but will it be enough? Manchin got a piece of good news Thursday when his home state Sen. Shelley Moore Capito (R-W.Va.) announced she would vote for his permitting reform bill. She cited the approval of the Mountain Valley Pipeline as a major factor. 

And at least a few other Senate Republicans could follow Capito’s lead. Those possible swing votes include GOP Sens. Susan Collins (Maine), Lisa Murkowski (Alaska), Todd Young (Ind.) and Mitt Romney (Utah).

Read more about the state of play here, from The Hill’s Alexander Bolton.

ENERGY INVESTMENT ROUNDUP

  • A group of countries will come together to devote $94 billion for demonstrating emerging clean energy technologies, the Energy Department said Friday. It said that the U.S. will devote $21.9 billion to the effort, while other participants include Australia, Canada, Finland, France, Germany, Japan, the Netherlands, Norway, Poland, South Korea, Singapore, Sweden, United Arab Emirates and the United Kingdom.

  • The Biden administration announced on Thursday that it would take steps to launch a $7 billion effort to develop regional “hubs” aimed at developing hydrogen energy. These hubs would be specifically focused on hydrogen that comes from renewables, nuclear or fossil fuels whose emissions are captured by carbon capture technology.

ON TAP NEXT WEEK

   Wednesday

  • The Senate Environment and Public Works Committee is slated to hold a previously postponed vote on nominees including Joseph Goffman, who would lead the EPA’s Air and Radiation office, as well as nominees for the Tennessee Valley Authority’s board

  • The EPW committee will also hold a hearing on reauthorizing a program called Brownfields aimed at contamination cleanup

   Thursday

  • The House Select Climate Crisis Committee will hold a hearing on climate investments in the Inflation Reduction Act

  • The Environment and Public Works Committee will hold a hearing on abandoned mine cleanup

   Friday

  • The House Natural Resources Committee will hold a hearing on Puerto Rico’s rebuilding and power grid

WHAT WE’RE READING

  • Embattled World Bank leader ‘slow-walking’ climate initiatives (E&E News)

  • Thousands call for ‘climate reparations and justice’ in global protests (The Guardian)

  • California moves to ban natural gas furnaces and heaters by 2030 (The Los Angeles Times)

🌊 Extra click: Photos of the week

That’s it for today, thanks for reading. Check out The Hill’s Energy & Environment page for the latest news and coverage. We’ll see you next week.

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