Manchin, Schumer, and a Possible Shutdown Over Energy

Manchin, Schumer, and a Possible Shutdown Over Energy

Senate Democratic leader Chuck Schumer is today beginning the process toward a test vote on a shell bill for a continuing resolution that hasn’t been written yet, and which must pass by one week from tonight to prevent a government shutdown.

This is legislating in 2022.

Schumer intends to keep his word to Senator Joe Manchin, after having promised he’d included energy permitting reform in this spending bill in exchange for Manchin’s vote for the Inflation Reduction Act.

Infrastructure and energy project approvals — which take more than three times as long as they did 50 years ago — are holding up all sorts of essential infrastructure. Even green energy advocates know reform is needed: One study concludes that if transmission lines cannot be built more quickly, 80% of the carbon emissions reductions intended to result from the Inflation Reduction Act will not take place.

As Joel Dodge writes in Washington Monthly, “We need to generate clean energy and distribute it through new transmission lines. But it takes a decade or longer to construct a single line, partly because of permitting delays.” One Democratic insider told Politico, “You can build all of these wind farms, solar farms, whatever you want. If you can't actually get that power into my apartment building, who cares? The power just sits out there.”

But some of Manchin’s Democratic don’t want to vote for this permitting reform because they think it goes too far, and neither do some Republicans, because they don’t think it goes far enough.

Senators: Keep your promise, keep the government open, and keep the power flowing.