Will the Shaheen-Portman bill be able to pass?

The long-delayed vote on the Energy Savings and Industrial Competitiveness Act – the bipartisan bill first proposed over a year ago by Senators Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH) and Rob Portman (R-OH) could end with the bill being blocked by partisan fighting, according to insiders. After languishing in Congress through a federal government shutdown, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) scheduled the bill to come up for a cloture vote within the next few weeks.

The cloture vote would end the debate on the bill and allow it to be brought to the senate floor for a general vote. In order to make it past the cloture vote successfully, the bill would need to be approved by at least 60 senators. Republicans who are opposed to the energy efficiency regulations are attempting to add four amendments to the draft, including one that would pass the controversial Keystone XL Pipeline, a project President Barack Obama shutdown in 2010.

Senator Reid does not want to include the GOP amendments in the version of the bill that is going up for a vote, saying that he would instead agree to a stand-alone binding vote on Keystone XL if the senate moves forward on the current version of the Shaheen-Portman bill with no further additions. The Republicans have already balked at Senator Reid's proposal, which puts the future of the proposed legislation very much in doubt. The Shaheen-Portman bill is the first attempted energy legislation in Congress since 2007.

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