- The Washington Times - Wednesday, March 15, 2023

Senate Majority Leader Charles E. Schumer came out swinging Wednesday against an energy package from House Republicans, blasting the legislation as a “dead-on-arrival and unserious proposal” for Senate Democrats.

“The package is a wish list for Big Oil, gutting important environmental safeguards on fossil fuel projects, while doing none of the important permitting reforms that would help bring transmission and clean energy products online faster,” the New York Democrat said.

The harsh criticism underscored the lofty challenges for any piece of legislation on the hot-button issue of energy to pass a divided Congress. Democrats remain opposed to any measures that would boost domestic oil production, despite arguments from Republicans it would lower soaring energy prices.

The House Republican package unveiled this week is led by Majority Leader Steve Scalise and centers on increasing domestic energy production by rolling back environmental regulations to fast-track new projects — renewable and fossil fuel alike. The chamber will pass it later this month.

The GOP authors of the proposal concede it can’t pass the Senate in its current form but hope its House passage could boost bipartisan talks to reform what’s known as the permitting process for new projects, which typically take years and can cost millions of dollars due to environmental hurdles.

Mr. Schumer encouraged the talks between Republicans and some moderate Democrats, such as Sen. Joe Manchin III of West Virginia and Rep. Scott Peters of California, while taking another swing at the House GOP majority.

“House Republicans have come up in the meantime with something that falls pathetically — pathetically — short,” Mr. Schumer said.

• Ramsey Touchberry can be reached at rtouchberry@washingtontimes.com.

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