(The Hill) — Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) condemned what he described as “revenge politics” as many Republicans have resisted his efforts to speed up the approval process for energy projects.
“It’s like the revenge politics, basically revenge towards one person: me. And I’m thinking, ‘this is not about me,’” he told reporters on Tuesday.
“I’m hearing that the Republican leadership is upset and they’re saying ‘we’re not going to give a victory to Joe Manchin’ — Joe Manchin’s not looking for a victory,” he added. “We’ve got a good piece of legislation that’s extremely balanced and I think it’ll prove itself in time. The bottom line is, how much suffering and how much pain do you want to inflict on the American people for the time.”
Republicans, along with Manchin, have long complained that the approval process for energy and infrastructure projects — known as permitting — has been too lengthy and stalled important projects.
When he agreed to pass the Democrats’ climate and tax bill, Manchin struck a deal with Democratic leadership to also pass permitting reforms.
But, as he has tried to push a package of changes through, Manchin has met Republican obstacles, as some members feel slighted over the West Virginia Democrat’s passage of the climate bill.
Republicans have felt spurned after Manchin announced his support for the Democratic bill hours after a bipartisan chips and science bill passed the Senate. Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) had previously threatened that bill’s passage if Democrats pursued their bill.
The GOP has also complained that Manchin’s changes may not go far enough.
Meanwhile, on the other side of the aisle, a coalition of liberal Democrats has also come together to resist the effort, arguing that it will undercut the environmental inspections that often draw out the permitting process.
But Manchin said on Tuesday that “we do not bypass any of the environmental reviews,” which he said was the main difference between his package and a separate proposal from Sen. Shelley Moore Capito (R-W.Va.).
The senator also told reporters that the text of his proposal would be released on Wednesday, and that it would explicitly speed up the approval process for the Mountain Valley Pipeline.
The Mountain Valley Pipeline is a controversial proposed project that would carry natural gas from West Virginia to Virginia.