Sen. Joe Manchin (DW.Va.) denounced what he described as “vendetta politics” as many Republicans oppose his efforts to speed up the approval process for energy projects.
“It’s like revenge politics, basically revenge against one person: me. And I’m thinking, ‘This isn’t about me,'” he told reporters on Tuesday.
“I hear the Republican leadership is upset and they are saying ‘we won’t let Joe Manchin win’ – Joe Manchin isn’t looking for victory,” he said. “We have a good piece of legislation that is extremely balanced and I think it will prove itself in time. The bottom line is how much suffering and how much pain you want to inflict on the American people at this time.”
Joe Manchin, DW.VA, listens to a reporter during a news conference at the Capitol in Washington.
Republicans with Manchin have long complained that the approval process for energy and infrastructure projects – known as permitting – has been too long and has stalled important projects.
When he agreed to pass the Democrats’ climate and tax bill, Munchkin struck a deal with the Democratic leadership, which also allowed for reforms.
But, as he tries to push for a package of changes, Munchkin has faced Republican hurdles, as some members feel marginalized over the passage of the West Virginia Democrat’s climate bill.
There is a Republican feeling after Munchkin announced his support for the Democratic bill, hours after the Senate passed a bipartisan Chips and Science bill. Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) previously threatened that the bill would pass if Democrats pursued his bill.
The GOP has also complained that Munchkin’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 oppose the effort, arguing that it would reduce environmental inspections that often take out the permitting process.
But Manchin said Tuesday that “we do not circumvent any environmental review,” which he said was the main difference between his package and a separate proposal from Sen. Shelley Moore Capito (RW.Va).
The senator also told reporters that the text of his proposal would be released on Wednesday, and that it would apparently 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.