Progressives continue to pressure Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., to renege on a deal with Sen. Joe Manchin, D-W.Va., regarding permitting reform.
Schumer made the pact with Manchin to get his support — assuring passage — for President Joe Biden's since-signed climate and healthcare bill.
The majority leader said Wednesday he had no plans to backtrack on the agreement, and will add it to a continuing resolution (CR) that will fund the government and ensure that a shutdown gets avoided.
"Permitting reform is part of the IRA, and we will get it done," Schumer said Wednesday. "Our intention is to add it to the CR."
However, the office of Rep. Raúl Grijalva, D-Ariz., told The Hill on Wednesday that 50 lawmakers had signed onto his letter calling for a separate vote on permitting reform instead of putting the provisions in the continuing resolution.
Progressive House Democrats and environmental groups oppose the permitting reform, and The Hill said several Senate Democrats might balk at the deal too.
The outlet reported late last month that Grijalva, chair of the House Natural Resources Committee, was circulating a letter asking leadership to pull the Manchin deal from the CR.
And although many Republicans support permitting reforms, several GOP senators on Wednesday criticized Manchin's proposal for not going far enough.
"It seems pretty weak to me. I want to see how they have it written up but I hear it sounds pretty weak — ineffective," Sen. John Barrasso, R-Wyo., ranking Republican on the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee, said, The Hill reported.
Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., has said that he would oppose such a measure on principle, calling it part of a "political payback scheme" after tying permitting reform to climate and healthcare spending.
Sen. John Cornyn, R-Texas, told The Hill on Wednesday that he liked "the idea of permitting reform. So, I'll certainly keep an open mind," but added he'd be "surprised" if Manchin "gets what was promised."
"I know there were progressives over in the House that don't like the idea," Cornyn said. "They swallowed the reconciliation bill, but it's going to be an interesting process to watch."
More than 650 environmental groups last month sent a letter to Schumer and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., expressing their opposition.
"This fossil fuel wish list is a cruel and direct attack on environmental justice communities and the climate," the letter read. "This legislation would truncate and hollow-out the environmental review process, weaken Tribal consultations, and make it far harder for frontline communities to have their voices heard by gutting bedrock protections in the National Environmental Policy Act and Clean Water Act."
Schumer might gain progressives' support by adding a bill to codify marriage equality to the government funding measure. But that would threaten Republican support for the package in the Senate.
"We would prefer to do it as a separate bill. We hope there are 10 Republicans to help us with that," he said Wednesday.
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