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Lawmakers Propose Measure to Avert Government Shutdown


Several Republicans, whose support can be needed to clear the 60-vote threshold, have said they’ve little interest in helping to deliver on a promise that prompted Mr. Manchin to drop his opposition to the broader health, climate and tax plan and permit it to omit their party’s unanimous opposition.

In an announcement, Senator Richard C. Shelby of Alabama, the highest Republican on the Appropriations Committee, said there had been “significant progress” toward a short-term spending bill that “is as clean as possible.” But, he warned, “if the Democrats insist on including permitting reform, I’ll oppose it.”

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Lawmakers in each parties have expressed opposition to the small print of the permitting laws, which Mr. Manchin released last week. Republicans have said the laws doesn’t go far enough to make sure projects are approved more quickly, while liberal Democrats are alarmed at provisions that may make it easier to construct fossil fuel infrastructure, including the Mountain Valley Pipeline.

In an effort to hurry up the permitting process, the laws would instruct agencies to finish required environmental reviews inside about two years for major projects and limit the window for court challenges once a project is permitted.

Some Democrats, including climate hawks, have signaled they are going to support the permitting package because they are saying it would help speed up the development of transmission lines and other infrastructure needed to combat climate change and help deliver on President Biden’s pledge to chop United States emissions roughly in half by 2030.

“To fulfill our climate goals, and as renewable energy projects proceed to develop into more economically viable, we must enact reasonable permitting reform — which incorporates expedited review processes that also maintain fundamental environmental protections,” said Representative Sean Casten, Democrat of Illinois, in an announcement. “Anything less is failing to do what’s scientifically mandatory to preserve our planet.”

But at the very least two members of the Senate Democratic caucus, Senator Bernie Sanders, the Vermont independent, and Senator Tim Kaine of Virginia, have said they are going to vote against the stopgap spending bill due to the permitting reform laws. Within the House, dozens of liberal Democrats have called for a separate vote on the permitting measure.

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