A must-pass defense bill may be tied up by efforts to speed up government permits, Axios‘ Jael Holzman writes.

Driving the news: Democratic leaders are trying to attach a deal Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) struck with them on permits to a bill authorizing military spending, according to multiple reports.

Why it matters: Faster federal permits for resource and power projects is once again consuming Congress — and splintering the political left.

Between the lines: The party’s left flank opposes the move, saying it would amount to a big oil giveaway.

  • President Biden supports the maneuver after promising Manchin he’d pass the deal in exchange for his signature climate law.
  • Text of the defense bill initially expected Monday has not been released.

Reality check: This deal faces tough odds because dynamics in Congress haven’t changed since an attempt to move Manchin’s deal failed in September.

The big picture: Energy companies of all stripes bemoan the permitting process.

  • Wind and solar developers like Manchin’s deal because it would grease the skids for federal permits with mandatory timelines and protections from court challenges.
  • Fossil fuel companies like the deal for the same reasons (and it’ll expedite an Appalachian gas pipeline).

Yes, but: Biden could make government approvals faster without this deal.

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