Senators unveil plan to cut red tape for major projects

He noted that the United States ranks 17th in the world in terms of greenlighting major projects and said eased regulations would benefit oil and gas, manufacturing, transportation and broadband sectors, among others.

Under current regulations, for instance, a single energy project can require upwards of 35 separate permits, Portman said. As a result of delays caused by the cumbersome process, more than 1 million jobs fail to materialize each year, while would-be investors are hesitant to help finance projects, the lawmakers said.

McCaskill said the bill would create a system to end confusion over who is accountable for approving proposed projects.

The bill would establish a Federal Permitting Improvement Council, headed by a Senate-confirmed Office of Management and Budget official selected by the president.

The council would create an inventory of pending projects requiring an initial investment of at least $25 million and designate a lead authorizing agency for each. The bill would impose new deadlines for approval decisions.

An online “dashboard” available to the public would allow interested parties to monitor the status of a project going through the permitting process, the lawmakers said.

The legislation also contains provisions meant to reduce project delays linked to lawsuits. It would reduce the statute of limitations for suits filed under the National Environmental Policy Act from six years to 150 days, and allow courts to consider potential job losses in decisions about whether to halt a project.

Representatives of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, the Business Roundtable and America’s Building Trades Unions, AFL-CIO, have backed the bill.

Sens. Joe DonnellyJoseph (Joe) Simon DonnellyElection Countdown: Family separation policy may haunt GOP in November | Why Republican candidates are bracing for surprises | House Dems rake in record May haul | 'Dumpster fire' ad goes viral Actress Marcia Gay Harden urges Congress to boost Alzheimer's funding Manchin becomes final Democrat to back bill preventing separation of immigrant families MORE (D-Ind.), John BarrassoJohn Anthony BarrassoGOP senators introduce bill to prevent family separations at border Overnight Energy: Senate panel sets Pruitt hearing | Colorado joins California with tougher emissions rules | Court sides with Trump on coal leasing program Pruitt to testify before Senate panel in August MORE (R-Wyo.) and Mike EnziMichael (Mike) Bradley EnziHouse panel to mark up 2019 budget Overnight Defense: Top general defends Afghan war progress | VA shuffles leadership | Pacific Command gets new leader, name | Pentagon sued over HIV policy Senate GOP urges Trump administration to work closely with Congress on NAFTA MORE (R-Wyo.) have signed on as co-sponsors.

"What we have to do is put people to work and build things," Donnelly said.

McCaskill predicted more senators would get behind the measure and said she expected Majority Leader Harry ReidHarry Mason ReidAmendments fuel resentments within Senate GOP Donald Trump is delivering on his promises and voters are noticing Danny Tarkanian wins Nevada GOP congressional primary MORE (D-Nev.) to be “cooperative.”

“If we could get it to the floor, I believe we have bipartisan support," Portman said.