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Capito holds off support of Manchin permitting reform bill until she can see it

MORGANTOWN – Sens. Shelley Moore Capito and Joe Manchin are on the same page on getting the Mountain Valley Pipeline completed.

But Capito said on Thursday that she isn’t yet on board with Manchin’s permitting reform bill that would enable it. “Let’s see the details, let’s see what this is.”

At her Thursday virtual meeting with West Virginia press members, she said Manchin told her he will have it ready by next Thursday – Sept. 15.

Both have been trying various means to get the MVP rolling again, she said. “I’ve been pressing hard.”

Capito echoed what The Hill has reported – the Majority Leader Chuck Schumer plans to plug the permitting legislation into a continuing resolution needed to keep government funded and running.

But that move faces opposition from progressive Senate Democrats and Democrats in the House who oppose enabling fossil fuels – and only tentative support from Republicans who don’t think the permitting reform will go far enough.

Schumer had pledged to put the permitting legislation before the Senate in exchange for Manchin’s support of the Inflation Reduction Act – a pledge Manchin has touted along with his positive comments on the benefits of the IRA (of which Capito still holds a dim view, she said again Thursday).

The Hill quoted Schumer saying, “Permitting reform is part of the IRA and we will get it done. Our intention is to add it to the CR.” But Capito said there’s strong opposition to tying the permitting legislation to the must-pass continuing resolution.

Capito is skeptical about success, and mentioned again the permitting reform amendment she proposed for the IRA, as a sort of trial balloon, which all 50 Democrats opposed.

Also in play is marriage equality legislation to codify same-sex marriage. Democrats support plugging that into the continuing resolution but Schumer wants a separate vote on it.

Capito said the marriage bill’s authors – Republican Susan Collins and Democrat Tammy Baldwin – are doing good work but again, she wants to see the bill before she declares her support for it.

On other matters, Capito talked about her Tuesday trip to Audi Field in D.C. to see the U.S. Women’s National Soccer Team play, followed by the the signing of collective bargaining agreements to guarantee women soccer players are paid the same as the men.

Capito said she is a co-sponsor of the Equal Pay for Team USA Act – which she called Equal Pay for Equal Play – that would assure equal pay for women for all Team USA sports. It would not apply to private or professional sports. “I’m very much in support of that.”

The Library of Congress shows that the bill, in amended form, received approval from the Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee.

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