Amid uncertainty over whether energy-savings legislation can pass in a partisan political climate, a bipartisan Senate duo on Thursday rolled out what they're calling a new and improved energy-efficiency bill.
The legislation, sponsored by Sens. Jeanne Shaheen, D-N.H., and Rob Portman, R-Ohio, is a revised version of a bill that came before the full Senate in September, when it quickly became mired in debate over unrelated issues, including the Affordable Care Act and the Keystone XL pipeline. The legislation is aimed at boosting energy efficiency in commercial and residential properties and federally-owned buildings.
Backers are confident this version can pass. Bill sponsors tacked on 10 new bipartisan amendments in a bid to win the 60 votes needed to end debate in the upper chamber when the measure is brought back to the floor. The provisions range from incentives for energy-savings retrofits in schools and low-income housing projects to a program that boosts energy efficiency in commercial properties. The legislation also picked up a number of additional sponsors, including Senate Republicans John Hoeven of North Dakota and Johnny Isakson of Georgia. Moderate Democrats such as Sens. Mary Landrieu of Louisiana and Joe Manchin of West Virginia have also added their names in support of the bill.