After over a year of delays, the Senate took up the Shaheen-Portman energy efficiency bill for a procedural vote yesterday afternoon. The proposed legislation – co-sponsored by Democrat Jeanne Shaheen of New Hampshire and Republican Rob Portman of Ohio – was a rare bipartisan bill that had major support in both parties. A procedural vote requires 60 senators to approve of a bill in order to move it forward for a final vote to make it a law.
Unfortunately, the Shaheen-Portman failed to reach the 60-vote threshold, instead failing with 55 for and 36 against. While the bill was once backed by both parties, a recent standoff between the GOP and Democrats over whether or not to include environmentally related amendments in the final draft of the legislation eventually led to the typical partisan fighting that our country has become very accustomed to.
The tension between Democrats and Republicans was largely over whether to include language that would pass the Keystone XL Pipeline project, as well as blocking President Obama's decision to issue climate change rules without the consent of Congress. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid of Nevada refused to accept any amendments made by the Republican party, which in turn refused to allow the Shaheen-Portman to move to the final hurdle it had to clear.
"Today's failure to move forward on a bipartisan energy-efficiency bill is yet another disappointing example of Washington's dysfunction," Senator Portman said in a statement to the press.
While the government is gridlocked over how to proceed over energy for the future, you can help make your own home a more energy-efficient space. Schedule an appointment with Alban Inspections for an energy audit today!