Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) on Sunday pushed back against his Republican colleagues voicing opposition to his permitting reform deal because Manchin helped Democrats pass a party-line tax, climate and health care package last month.
“This is not about me,” Manchin told host Shannon Bream during an appearance on “Fox News Sunday.”
“My Republican friends — I’ve been working for 12 years with them — and I know their No. 1 item that they’ve had, the No. 1 priority they’ve had, is permitting reform,” Manchin continued. “We can’t build anything in America, it takes five to ten years, the developed world takes one to three years. And why should we be so far behind the developed world?”
Senate Majority Leader Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.) promised to attach Manchin’s permitting reform bill to a government funding measure this month in exchange for the West Virginia Democrat’s vote on the Inflation Reduction Act, which included sweeping tax, climate and health care provisions that Democrats had been trying to pass for months.
But Senate Republicans are now mostly lining up against the controversial bill, which aims to speed up environmental reviews and other measures to approve energy projects faster, with some saying they don’t want to give Manchin a reward after he helped Democrats pass their partisan agenda.
The permitting reform measure also faces opposition from dozens of progressive House lawmakers, who raised concerns about the bill’s potential impact on climate change and the environment.
Manchin on Sunday portrayed the legislation as bipartisan by arguing it would increase energy supply levels, helping to bring down gas and home energy prices while also weaning the country off Russian energy supplies in the wake of Russian President Vladimir Putin’s invasion of Ukraine.
“If we don’t, Shannon, take advantage of this and come together as Americans, we’re going to look back five, ten years from now and wonder why we’re not able to meet the demands, why we’re allowing Putin to dictate the energy policies,” Manchin said.
“We can’t move the energy in America, whether it’s going to be new transmission lines, for renewables, or basically for fossil and oil and gas that moves the products we need today,” he added.
The bill does have at least one Republican supporter.
Sen. Shelley Moore Capito (W.Va.), Manchin’s home-state colleague, has indicated she will vote for the bill. Many GOP senators see her embrace as a result of a provision that would approve the completion of the Mountain Valley Pipeline, a natural gas pipeline that would span more than 300 miles across West Virginia.
That provision drew criticism from Sen. Tim Kaine (D-Va.), who voiced opposition to Manchin’s deal because the approval would include 100 miles of pipeline through his home state.