“I’m excited about the year and am optimistic about the country.”

Capito Discusses Year Ahead in Senate

WASHINGTON, DC – The Ripon Society held a breakfast discussion yesterday with Senator Shelley Moore Capito (R-WV), who shared her thoughts on the importance of passing permitting reform in the wake of last year’s infrastructure improvement bill, and why she is optimistic that Republicans can find common ground on that and other priorities in the coming year.

“It is an enormous issue for this country,” the Mountain State lawmaker stated.  “We’ve got the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act — there’s a lot of construction that has to occur. And if you have to keep permitting, it can just drag on forever. The permitting on a highway can take 10 years.  Permitting reform failed last year. So we’ve been in close contact with Cathy McMorris Rodgers.

“They’re going to move a permitting bill through their committee first, and then we will see what we can do. I believe that the only way we get it over to the Senate is the way we got the highway bill and the water bill over last year – we’ve got to work it through our committees.”

Capito was elected to the Senate in 2014 after serving seven terms in the U.S. House.  The Ranking Republican on the Environment & Public Works Committee, she is the author of legislation that would fix the nation’s broken permitting system.

Called the Simplifying Timelines and Assure Regulatory Transparency (START) Act, Capito’s legislation would provide regulatory certainty to states, expedite permitting and review processes and codify substantive environmental regulatory reforms.  The measure would also expedite permitting of the Mountain Valley Pipeline, a project that is currently under construction and would deliver natural gas from northwestern West Virginia to southern Virginia.

The Capito plan would also expedite permitting on other soon-to-be constructed projects around the country — something, the West Virginia Senator noted, the Democrats are well aware of in the wake of last year’s bill.

“They realize we’ve passed all these infrastructure improvements and they realize that time is money,” she stated.  “And if we keep stretching out these permitting processes, we’re not going to get as much done. At the same time, on the renewable side, if we’re going to all have EVs (electric vehicles), if we’re all going to have electric stoves now, then we are going to have to do something about the grid. The grid doesn’t have the capacity and we don’t have the grid availability in places where we have a lot of renewables.”

In addition to sharing her thoughts on the importance of permitting reform, Capito also touched on her role as Vice Chair of the Senate GOP Conference and the prospect that Republicans can find common ground on other pressing challenges in the coming year.

“I believe we’re here to do things,” she declared.  “We have some other folks on the other side of the political spectrum within our conference who are very vocal about fiscal issues and about the direction the country’s going.  The last thing we want is to be split. There are only 49 of us. We really need to be together. So, I think we’ll be able to get some things done.  I’m excited about the year, and am optimistic about the country.”

The Ripon Society is a public policy organization that was founded in 1962 and takes its name from the town where the Republican Party was born in 1854 – Ripon, Wisconsin. One of the main goals of The Ripon Society is to promote the ideas and principles that have made America great and contributed to the GOP’s success. These ideas include keeping our nation secure, keeping taxes low and having a federal government that is smaller, smarter and more accountable to the people.