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Manchin appeals for support on energy permitting bill

Sept. 25, 2022 Updated Sun., Sept. 25, 2022 at 9:13 p.m.

U.S. Sen. Joe Manchin, D-W.Va., speaks to reporters outside of his office in the Hart Senate Office Building on Aug. 2, 2022, in Washington, D.C. (Anna Moneymaker/Getty Images/TNS)  (Anna Moneymaker/Getty Images North America/TNS)
U.S. Sen. Joe Manchin, D-W.Va., speaks to reporters outside of his office in the Hart Senate Office Building on Aug. 2, 2022, in Washington, D.C. (Anna Moneymaker/Getty Images/TNS) (Anna Moneymaker/Getty Images North America/TNS)
By Jennifer A. Dlouhy Bloomberg News

WASHINGTON – Democratic Sen. Joe Manchin is still campaigning for votes on his plan to fast-track energy projects, while expressing confidence he’ll win enough bipartisan backing to pass the permitting legislation.

Manchin, speaking on “Fox News Sunday,” appealed to Republicans and Democrats to align behind his measure, which seeks to speed up the approval process for both fossil-fuel and clean-energy projects.

“This is a chance in a lifetime for us to have energy independence” and security, “while making sure we take care of American people with lower energy prices, producing more oil, producing more gas,” Manchin said. “We have to have permitting reform if you’re going to deliver it.”

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer had promised to include the permitting proposal in must-pass government funding legislation set for a vote this week as part of a deal securing Manchin’s support for President Joe Biden’s climate, health and spending bill that passed on a party-line vote in August.

While Manchin’s bill has won the backing of his fellow West Virginian, Republican Sen. Shelley Moore Capito, other Republicans have been wary of lending their support since it was critical to greasing the Inflation Reduction Act they opposed.

Manchin on Sunday implored Republicans to put that aside and embrace permitting changes they’ve long sought.

“This is not about me,” and “this is not about the previous legislation,” he said.

“This is the most important thing that we can do today, and it’s the most critical problem we have in front of us, which is energy independence and security,” Manchin said. “It would be basically a lost moment in history if we don’t do this.”

Manchin expressed confidence he had “overwhelming” support from Democrats in the Senate and the House, despite intense opposition from progressives in the party. Some 80 House Democrats have urged party leaders to keep the permitting measure separate from the government spending bill.

Part of Manchin’s sales pitch is that the permitting changes, coupled with investments under the Inflation Reduction Act, will help fight inflation stoked by high energy prices.

“If you want to reduce prices, then put more product out there,” Manchin said. “If you want to get your gasoline prices down, produce more oil.”

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