We believe we’ve all grown weary of the politics of the day, when party trumps statesmanship and doing what’s right for the American people.
So let us revel in the happenings of the past week, when an overwhelming majority of U.S. House and Senate members chose to do the right thing in passing the Fiscal Responsibility Act.
As we’ve noted, this is not a perfect solution. There are parts of the bill that Democrats abhor and parts that make Republicans cringe. But it’s the best deal possible at this time. And it’s great to see such strong support in both chambers of Congress.
For those who ever wondered if this type of bipartisanship was possible in this climate of political pitchforks and gaming for the next election — and trust us, we’ve been wondering a great deal — the vote in both chambers shows there remains lawmakers on the Hill who can set aside the extremes of their party to find middle ground.
In the House, led by Speaker Kevin McCarthy and Minority Leader Hakeem Jeffries, 314 votes for the measure easily surpassed the 117 nay votes. In the Senate, with both the support of Majority Leader Chuck Schumer and Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, the vote was 63-36.
A breakdown of West Virginia’s four votes — two in each chamber — finds what most of us would expect.
Sens. Joe Manchin and Shelley Moore Capito both strongly supported the measure, as did Rep. Carol Miller. Manchin is the state’s lone Democrat in a statewide position while Capito and Miller are both Republicans.
All three have shown the ability to put aside party goals to do what’s right for West Virginians and the American people. That’s exactly what they did on the Fiscal Responsibility Act.
First, the bill provides a clear pathway for the completion of the Mountain Valley Pipeline, thanks in large part to Manchin’s and Capito’s consistent drumbeat of support. But credit also to Miller, who has joined them in championing the cause in her increasing role in the House.
The pipeline, nearly 94% complete, has been tied up in regulatory purgatory for years and would be a huge boost to the natural gas industry not only in West Virginia, but Pennsylvania and Ohio. It also provide energy, economic and national security by helping the U.S. be more energy independent.
Finally, a majority of Congress and President Biden have listened to Manchin’s and Capito’s urgent pleas.
“We are grateful for the full support of the White House, as well as the strong leadership of Democratic and Republican legislators for recognizing the Mountain Valley Pipeline as a critical energy infrastructure project,” said Natalie Cox, director of communications and corporate affairs for Equitrans Midstream Corporation, in an email to WV News.
The Gas and Oil Association of West Virginia also praised the efforts of Manchin, Capito and Miller.
“Our congressional delegation, led by Senator Joe Manchin, with the support of Senator Shelley Moore Capito and Congresswoman Carol Miller, made West Virginians proud, as the Fiscal Responsibility Act (FRA) passage is an historic moment for the nation and our state’s economy. This legislation not only preserves America’s financial standing but brings initial permitting reforms and expedites the Mountain Valley Pipeline completion, which has been stuck in a permitting nightmare,” said Charlie Burd, executive director of the Gas & Oil Association of West Virginia.
The bill also keeps the potential of an economic crash at bay, ensuring the state’s retired residents will continue to receive Social Security and Medicare benefits.
And there are significant steps taken to begin wrangling in the national deficit. We would agree with naysayers that they are small steps and more needs done. But this is at least movement in the right direction that can be built on.
While we praise Manchin, Capito and Miller, we remain disappointed with the performance of Rep. Alex Mooney, who continually votes against positive bills for West Virginia to remain in favor of national groups like Club for Growth and other outside interests. His continual refrain is a tiresome one: That this bill, and others in the past he’s been against, just aren’t good enough.
And if this compromise wasn’t reached, would he have been all right with watching West Virginians suffer the effects of an economic meltdown?
Fortunately a bipartisan majority — led in part by West Virginia’s top three lawmakers — got it right for Americans and West Virginians.