September 19, 2022

With Shutdown Looming, Congress Still Negotiating Spending, Permitting Deal

As Connecting the Dots reported last week, Senate Majority Leader Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.) has pledged to keep a promise to Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) to attached legislation to reform federal permitting for energy projects to a must-pass, end-of-the-year spending bill.

Some Democrats in the House oppose the permitting measure, however, and last week lawmakers made very little progress toward resolving the issue. In fact, as The Hill reported, Sen. Ed Markey (D-Mass.) has joined the group of House Democrats, making him the second senator who has said he will not vote for the fiscal year 2023 funding bill if permitting reform is included.

As a reminder, any funding measure, with or without permitting reforms, would require 60 votes to pass the Senate. If both Sen. Markey and the other opponent, Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), do not support the measure, at least 12 Republicans will have to vote with the rest of the Democrats to get the funding bill approved and to President Joe Biden’s desk for his signature.

If the funding bill is not approved by Congress and signed into law by the president, the federal government faces a partial government shutdown starting on October 1, 2022.

It is not clear whether Republicans will support the Schumer-Manchin deal. In fact, GOP lawmakers are currently backing an alternative permitting proposal by Sen. Shelley Moore Capito (R-W.Va.). While Sen. Manchin has said he wants to work with his West Virginia colleague on the issue, Sen. Moore Capito said she has not yet heard from Sen. Manchin.

For her part, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) has signaled that she would support permitting reform — if the Senate acts on the measure first. Stay tuned to Connecting the Dots for updates on this matter.

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