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Kaine to vote against Manchin permitting bill

Sen. Joe Manchin’s (D-W.Va.) proposal for permitting reform was dealt a blow Tuesday morning when Virginia Sen. Tim Kaine (D) said he would vote against a motion to start debate on the proposal.

Kaine stated that he will vote against a motion to proceed to the legislative vehicle that Senate Majority Leader Charles Schumer (D-NY) intends to use to advance Manchin’s permitting reform legislation as well as a short-term government funding measure.

Because the Mountain Valley Pipeline, 100 miles of which pass through Virginia, would be approved for completion under Manchin’s bill, Kaine is opposed to it. It would also transfer legal jurisdiction over any legal challenges to the project from the 4th Circuit Court of Appeals to the D.C. Circuit.

Kaine issued a statement saying, “I strongly oppose the Mountain Valley Pipeline provision of this legislation, which would approve this pipeline without typical administrative and judicial review and ignore the voices of Virginians.”

He pointed out that the pipeline would take private landowners’ property and that neither he nor his constituents were given the opportunity to comment on the bill’s language or express their “deep concerns” about the project.

Additionally, he berated the bill for excluding the 4th Circuit from the legal dispute involving the pipeline.

“If the owners of MVP are dissatisfied with a court decision, they should follow other litigants’ lead and appeal. Allowing them to fundamentally alter federal law in order to accomplish their goal would undoubtedly inspire other well-off individuals and corporations to do the same. Kaine declared, “I won’t take part in throwing open the door to abuse and even corruption.

Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) circulated a “Dear Colleague” letter urging senators to vote against the combined funding resolution and permitting reform package a few days before Kaine made his statement.

Kaine’s opposition to the House “shell” bill’s introduction into debate, which is seen as a test vote for Manchin’s permitting reform, may pave the way for additional Democratic defectors.

In exchange for the centrist senator’s support for the Inflation Reduction Act in August, Schumer agreed to include Manchin’s bill in the end-of-September continuing resolution.

A number of President Biden’s top priorities were achieved by that bill, which established a 15 percent corporate minimum tax, provided $369 billion to fight climate change, and empowered Medicare to bargain for lower drug prices.

Republicans were furious about the deal with Schumer, so it is unlikely that Manchin’s permitting bill will get the dozen or so GOP votes it needs to end a filibuster.

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Manchin’s bill has a slim chance of garnering enough Republican support because Senate Republican leadership, including Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.), is urging their GOP colleagues not to support his bill.

Sen. Richard Shelby (Ala.), the top Republican on the Senate Appropriations Committee and a close McConnell ally, announced Monday night that he would vote against the stop-gap spending measure unveiled by his own panel because it includes Manchin’s permitting reform. This was a setback for Manchin.

On the way to a Continuing Resolution that is as clear as possible, we have made significant progress. However, I will be against permitting reform if the Democrats insist on including it, Shelby said on Monday.

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