Renewed hope for Senate’s bipartisan energy efficiency bill

Since lawmakers on both sides of the aisle were able to come together on Capitol Hill this week to support a cloture vote on the budget bill proposed by Representative Paul Ryan (R-WI) and Senator Patty Murray (D-WA), there is renewed hope in the legislature for the long-stalled Shaheen-Portman energy proposal. While the Shaheen-Portman bill, known officially as the Energy Savings and Industrial Competitiveness Act, has broad bipartisan support both in Congress and in the energy industry, it has languished in the Senate since this past fall due to unrelated debates about the Affordable Care Act. The highly politicized Obamacare has entrenched the already strongly partisan Congress, making the passage of any major legislation all but impossible.

With both parties working together to pass a budget and avoid another government shutdown, Senator Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH), one of the bill's authors, believes there is new hope to get the proposed law through Congress within the next year.

"I'm optimistic that we can find a way forward," Senator Shaheen told the National Journal this week when she was asked about the legislation's current status.

For the last few months, Shaheen and the bill's co-author Rob Portman (R-OH) along with their staffers have been working behind closed doors in an effort to secure enough votes to invoke cloture and end the debate on the floor of the Senate when the bill is reintroduced. Shaheen told reporters she and Portman hope to make a public announcement regarding the measure within the next week, but does not know when the bill will be put forth again in front of the entire Senate. Shaheen does, however, want to take substantial action on the bill during an early 2014 session.

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