September 22, 2022
Senator Portman joined FOX Business’ Kudlow this afternoon to discuss the importance of working on permitting reform legislation in a bipartisan way. Senator Portman is a staunch advocate for permitting reform and has long pushed for bipartisan solutions. Portman then highlighted Democrats’ massive spending spree, which has led to a near 40-year high inflation rate and higher prices for consumers. He also touched on the importance of keeping the government open and urged Democrats and Republicans to come together and put an effective bill on the Senate floor to keep the government funded and spending under control.
A transcript of the interview can be found below and you can also watch the interview here.
SENATOR PORTMAN ON BIPARTISAN PERMITTING REFORM
“I think there is a simple solution, Larry, and that’s to come up with a bipartisan package here. We didn’t get any of the language with regard to Joe Manchin’s proposal until the last couple of days. We’re now trying to figure out what is in it. As you have probably seen a lot of people from the outside who have looked at it aren’t sure if it helps or hurts. I think there are good things in it. I think there are things that need to be improved. But it was never done in a bipartisan way. So, let’s do the very simple thing that we should have done at the start. Let’s have a bipartisan permitting reform bill. As you know I’m a hawk on permitting reform. That is one of the huge problems we have in this country, relative to just about every country in the world, by the way.
It takes us a longer to greenlight something. Energy projects, yes, but any kind of construction including infrastructure, roads, and bridges. We did a pretty good the job in infrastructure bill of moving the ball forward, now we could do more, but let’s do it on a bipartisan basis. So, there is time to do that. Let’s get the spending bill done if that’s necessary to get the spending done first. But let’s sit down, get a bipartisan bill that has some of the good ideas that are in Shelley Moore Capito’s proposal and Joe Manchin’s proposals, and things that others of us would like to have. And, let’s get it done and we can. All we need is ten Democrat votes.”
“It really is and there is no need to do that, there could be a clean, continuing resolution to make sure that doesn’t happen. But on permitting reform, remember we have done this in the past. Larry, you mentioned the council, the permitting reform council your administration took seriously that was a bipartisan effort. I worked on it for about eight years. We got it done. It helps move the time frame from approximately six years on average, to about two years on average to permit a project of all kinds. Energy, by the way, green energy and fossil fuels. It should apply to everything. Building construction, roads, and bridges. All of it.”
“Including by the way critical minerals that are needed for electric car batteries, which are needed for what Democrats want to do, which is to not have transition and just go immediately to electric cars. You can’t do that if you don’t have the ability to extract these minerals. That takes permitting reform.”
SENATOR PORTMAN ON PAYGO CAPS AND MANDATORY SPENDING
“You could. This all comes, by the way, Larry out of the $1.9 trillion we’ve talked about on this show before. So, for people just to remember almost $2 trillion spent to work on Covid. Most of it had nothing to do with Covid. Created a huge stimulus effect on the economy which economists right, left, and center say helped cause inflation on the demand side. But what happened was, that money was spent even more rapidly than predicted. Therefore, there are pay-go rules right now that could come into effect that would actually require some of that to be offset. So, I think that does make sense, probably not in the CR. Because as you’ve said, shutting down government does not make sense and that is probably what would happen but certainly with regard to the omnibus appropriations bill, the next bill which is where you are going to have real money. This would be a sequester of mandatory spending under our rules. The question is, you know, is that something Congress is willing to do? Or could you sequester other funds instead? Which would be the domestic discretionary side but I think it’s a possibility.”
“Yeah. The one thing you and I think both agree on is that the PAYGO rules, while it’s a mandatory cutting of spending on the mandatory spending side, meaning Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid, wouldn’t be it better to reform those programs so that they save money and work better? So, rather than doing the sort of across the board cut, let’s actually reform these programs. There is legislation to do that. I’m one of the co-sponsors. There are about five Democrats and five Republicans. Not enough yet, but that is really what has to be done. I know you and I have talked about this before but the vast majority of our spending, almost 70 percent now is on autopilot. This is the mandatory spending. And that’s the spending we don’t want to touch because it is so difficult politically. That is where the big increases are. Increasingly that is where the money is.”