The “Snowzilla” storm has wreaked havoc on the congressional schedule, as the House has scrapped its entire session for the week—essentially creating an unplanned recess—while the Senate has pushed its own plans back a day.
Instead of starting its work Tuesday, as originally scheduled, the Senate will vote Wednesday night on the nomination of John Michael Vazquez for a U.S. District Court judgeship. Then the Senate is set to dive back into the high-intensity energy debate with expected floor consideration of a bipartisan energy bill, covering issues such as energy efficiency, infrastructure modernization, and critical-minerals mining.
But it’s unclear whether cooperation on energy that marked the end of 2015, when Congress and the White House struck a deal on allowing crude-oil exports while extending green-electricity tax breaks, will carry over into the new year.
The bill arrives on the floor with support across party lines. Last year, it cleared the Energy and Natural Resources Committee on a bipartisan 18-4 vote, but the floor debate could get tricky (a similar House bill lost its Democratic cooperation on its path to passage). Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has promised an open amendment process, which means the bill could see debates over tough issues like climate change, fossil fuel development and the Obama administration’s decision to put the brakes on new coal leases on federal lands.