William Katz:  Urgent Agenda

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SOME PROGRESS:  Well, we know that one good thing will come out of the negotiations over raising the debt limit.  Be thankful for small blessings.  From Fox: 

The highly-anticipated debt ceiling package House Republicans and President Biden announced on Sunday includes a provision fast-tracking a massive 303-mile West Virginia-to-Virginia natural gas pipeline project for approval.

The unexpected carveout green-lighting the billion-dollar Mountain Valley Pipeline — which is 94% complete, but has been mired in a lengthy permitting process for years — was immediately cheered by West Virginia lawmakers who have touted the project's expected economic benefits for years. The pipeline is projected to create 2,500 construction jobs, $40 million in new tax revenue for West Virginia, $10 million in new tax revenue for Virginia and up to $250 million in royalties for West Virginia landowners.

"After working with Speaker McCarthy and reiterating what completing the Mountain Valley Pipeline would mean for American jobs and domestic energy production, I am thrilled it is included in the debt ceiling package that avoids default," Sen. Shelley Moore Capito, R-W.Va., the ranking member of the Environment and Public Works Committee, said in a statement.

"Despite delay after delay, we continued to fight to get this critical natural gas pipeline up and running, and its inclusion in this deal is a significant victory for the future of West Virginia," she added.

According to a spokesperson for Capito, the pipeline's approval was ultimately earmarked in the debt ceiling deal after she personally engaged with McCarthy about its importance. The spokesperson added that the entire congressional delegation from West Virginia had pushed for its inclusion in the package.

Sen. Joe Manchin, D-W.Va, who chairs the Energy and Natural Resources Committee, also applauded House Speaker Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., for ensuring the project was included in the deal. Manchin's attempts last year to fast-track the pipeline in a budget package in September and a defense spending package in December both failed to garner enough support.

"Last summer, I introduced legislation to complete the Mountain Valley Pipeline," Manchin said Sunday. "I am pleased Speaker McCarthy and his leadership team see the tremendous value in completing the MVP to increase domestic energy production and drive down costs across America and especially in West Virginia."

COMMENT:  A small but important victory over the reckless energy policies of the Biden administration, which have made America once again dependent on foreign energy.  President Trump had made us energy independent.

May 28,  2023