On Monday (September 26), moderate Democrat Senator Joe Manchin (W.Va.) acknowledged he was taken aback by Senate Majority leader Mitch McConnell’s (R-Ky.) and other Republican opposition to his permitting reform bill. The opposition spells doom for his bill when it hits the Senate floor next week.
Manchin explained he expected “far-left” liberals and liberal-leaning independent Senator Bernie Sanders (Vt.) to oppose the bill, but not his Republican counterparts.
Speaking to Fox News host Neil Cavuto, Manchin conceded: “I never did think I’d have Bernie and some of the extreme far left.”
However, the moderate Democrat articulated his surprise, “What I didn’t expect is that Mitch McConnell and my Republican friends would be sacking up with Bernie or trying to get the same outcome by not passing permitting reform.”
This is the last chance for the bill — which would limit federal agency authority to assess new energy projects — to be passed, according to Manchin.
He expressed disappointment that Republicans would sink the bill because they were harboring anger because of the deal he struck with Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) to pass the inflation reduction bill in August.
“I don’t see it ever coming back again. People just aren’t going to be there at all,” he explained about the likelihood the bill would reemerge in the future.
Manchin also pointed out that in his 12 years in the Senate, he had repeatedly supported Republicans on permitting reform bills, noting, “I was the only Democrat” supporting the GOP’s bills.
He continued, “Now, all of the sudden, we got a majority of the Democrats, an overwhelming majority of Democrats, that will support a very balanced procedure forward. Is it a perfect bill? No. Does it move the needle? Absolutely,”