While Manchin has sided with Republicans generally on the need to increase U.S. energy production, he said the Senate bill, S. 953, falls short of establishing the comprehensive energy policy that the U.S. needs. He also warned that by setting deadlines for government action on offshore drilling permits, the bill could actually create an incentive for the government not to approve these permits.
"Quite simply, if we place a 30-day fix with two 15-day extensions, I believe we'd see more permits denied than we would see processed," he explained. "It would create a perverse effect that could encourage government bureaucrats to stop any and all permits, and that would be a terrible outcome."
Manchin said he is open to further work on a bill that more broadly addresses the U.S. energy situation, which he said should include renewable energy sources as well.
"I will work with any senator from either party who will try to create a national energy policy that will truly help the nation achieve energy independence," he said.
A cloture vote on the Senate bill began at 2:30 p.m. Like the Democratic energy bill Tuesday, the Republican bill is not expected to win the 60 votes needed to end debate.