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A Democratic plan to pass energy-authorizing reform as well as a government funding bill runs into hurdles in the Senate as Republicans unite on a standalone proposal and Progressives worry that “the devil is in the details”.
Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, DN.Y., cut the deal with Sen. Joe Manchin, DW.Va., in exchange for Manchin’s vote on the social spending and tax bill Democrats. However, some Republicans, feeling betrayed by Manchin’s vote for the tax and spending bill, say they will vote against any continued resolution containing permit reform, even if they favor the policy.
Other Republicans are wary of the substance of the yet-to-be-announced license reform deal and back a separate proposal by Sen. Shelley Moore Capito, RW.Va., and some progressives are threatening to vote Against the Environmental Concerns Funding Bill.
All of these factors could complicate Democrats’ path to 60 votes on the funding bill.
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“Absolutely,” Sen. Jon Tester, D-Mont. “I think there are political games being played here all the time. I think that would be unfortunate. There is an opportunity to secure a victory for the American people.”
“This ‘rally around Capito’ strategy virtually guarantees that licensing reform is dead for years to come,” said a Democratic aide. “It’s the only window in the foreseeable future (years) to do so and there’s no way to go for his bill.”
Capito, meanwhile, said she brought forward her permissions reform proposal because Republicans are “calling for action and proposing to see the legislative text of the permissions ‘agreement’ remain without effect.”
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A Republican aide, meanwhile, said Democrats were ‘looking for someone to blame’, amid opposition from progressive Democrats to putting licensing reform in the government’s funding bill. .
“The reality is that if this doesn’t happen, the Democrats will have lied to the American people and have no one to blame but themselves,” the GOP aide said.
Progressive opposition to the permissions reform deal is strongest in the House, where dozens of progressives are warning House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., against including reform language permissions. Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., is leading a similar charge in the Senate, and other progressive senators could join him.
“This is one where literally the devil is in the details,” Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass, said Monday. “So I want to see all the details. We are still in the middle of the negotiations. I think there is a comprehensive approach that everyone is talking about, but there are still things to be worked out.”
Even Sen. Susan Collins, R-Maine, one of Manchin’s regular moderate allies in the Senate, seems suspicious of her deal with Schumer.
“I think putting it on a CR is problematic,” Collins said. “It’s a major policy.”
Some Republicans have said they would be willing to push forward permissions reform on an ongoing resolution, but stressed that the details would have to be exact.
“We would support substantial and meaningful licensing reform. It’s not a small fix intended to help Senator Manchin save face. We would support something substantial much like what Senator Capito has proposed,” said Sen. Roger Wicker, R-Miss., to Fox News. Digital.
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“It depends on what’s in there,” said Sen. Rob Portman, R-Ohio. “I will look at it objectively.”
Congress faces an end-of-month deadline to pass a continuing resolution to fund the government or it will shut down. With the midterm elections fast approaching, it’s likely lawmakers will find a way to at least temporarily defuse tightrope politics, so they can go home and campaign.
However, this solution, so far, is unclear.
“You’ll have to find out,” Sanders said when asked if any Senate Democrats shared his position on allowing reform and pursuing the resolution. “I do not know.”
Fox News’ Haris Alic contributed to this report.