The Senate rejected Manchin’s authorization bill that would have accelerated infrastructure projects | Daily News Byte

The Senate rejected Manchin’s authorization bill that would have accelerated infrastructure projects

 | Daily News Byte

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TThe Senate on Thursday night rejected Sen. Joe Manchin’s amended reform authorization bill by a 47-47 vote, meaning Democratic leaders failed to honor an agreement made with the West Virginia Democrat to secure his support for the climate spending bill.

“I don’t know how we can explain it if we vote against it,” Manchin said in a speech on the Senate floor Thursday night, urging lawmakers to approve the updated bill as an amendment to the National Defense Authorization Act, which is considered must-pass legislation. 60 votes were needed to approve Manchin’s amendment.

The amended permitting bill is Manchin’s third attempt to pass legislation, which is supposed to speed up environmental review and permitting for energy infrastructure and put a fence around lawsuits against such projects, after it was defeated in the House in September.

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Many Democrats oppose the bill because it would facilitate new fossil fuel infrastructure, including ordering relevant agencies to complete the Mountain Valley Pipeline, a mostly built natural gas pipeline through West Virginia that has been held up in court and strongly opposed by environmental groups.

Most Republicans also opposed the bill for different reasons. Some expressed frustration at being left out of the writing of the law.

Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NI) said Tuesday that the chamber will vote on Manchin’s amended, retitled reform authorization bill, which seeks to speed up energy infrastructure projects after Manchin’s earlier bill failed.

Schumer agreed to support the reform in August in exchange for Manchin’s “yes” vote on the Inflation Reduction Act, which includes $369 billion in climate and clean energy spending.

Earlier versions of Menchin’s reform legislation allowing for reform failed to advance due to opposition from many liberal Democrats as well as Republicans.

Manchin then regrouped and asked colleagues to support his updated, renamed text as an amendment to this year’s NDAA.

The amended law sets tighter deadlines for completing a review of the National Environmental Policy Act and gives states a year to respond before the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission can intervene on interstate transmission projects deemed by the Energy Secretary to be in the “national interest.” .

However, it retains provisions that would direct relevant federal agencies to “take all necessary action” to issue new permits for the Mountain Valley pipeline.

President Joe Biden announced his support for the plan earlier Thursday.

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“Today, too many projects are facing delays — preventing us from generating critical, cost-saving energy needed by families and businesses across America,” Biden said in a statement. “It is an obstacle to our economic growth, the creation of new jobs and the reduction of our reliance on foreign imports.”

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