Republican eyes amending national security bill to block Biden’s pause on natural gas export permits

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Senate Republican Conference Chair John Barrasso (Wyo.), the third-ranking member of the Senate GOP leadership, will seek to amend legislation containing aid for Ukraine and Israel with a provision blocking the Biden administration’s pause on new permits for natural gas exports.

“If it truly is open for amendments, there will be an amendment — and I will bring one on… stopping what the president has done with this,” Barrsso said, referring to the administration’s pause on approving new natural gas export terminals. 

Such an amendment is sure to be contentious, with many Democrats supportive of the White House’s energy policy.

The Senate package, which includes aid for Israel, Ukraine and Indo-Pacific security, cleared a procedural vote on Thursday after border security measures were stripped and after Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) pledged a “fair and open process” on amendments.

But, it still needs several more votes in the Senate before it can reach the House, where its path is also uncertain as the Republican Party’s right flank has been skeptical of foreign military aid and especially additional aid for Ukraine.

Sen. John Hoeven (R-N.D.) also said that he was cosponsoring a bill “that would do the same thing — that would take DOE out of the equation and leave it just to FERC,” referring to the Energy Department and Federal Energy Regulatory Commission. 

Late last month, the Biden administration announced that it would pause new approvals for facilities that would export natural gas abroad in order to better assess such exports’ climate, economic and national security impacts. 

The move would only affect new projects and not impact existing exports or projects that are already under construction

The pause was met with cheers from many environmental advocates but pushback from Republicans and some centrist Democrats.

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