Shaheen-Portman Energy Bill Dies Again

The Shaheen-Portman Energy Efficiency Bill is officially dead.

The bill had the bi-partisan support in both the House and the Senate, plus was supported by hundreds of associations and interest groups, including NAED.

But, thanks to some political maneuvering and the unwillingness to compromise, the bill will not be debated or up for a vote.  The bill was introduced last year, and had the same support, but suffered the same fate.  Democrat Jean Shaheen and Republican Rob Portman decided to re-introduce the bill earlier this year, hopeful that it would pass.

The Energy Efficiency Bill has wide support from both political parties.  It will spur the use of energy efficiency technologies in the residential, commercial and industrial construction sectors, while also creating jobs. These technologies already exist and can be widely used in every state.

In 2013, Republican Senator David Vitter attached an amendment to the bill that will require all members of congress and their staffs to slash their health care benefits. Vitter believes Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid will not allow a vote on the health care benefits slash on its own, so he is trying to attach it to all legislation.  The result was the Shaheen-Portman Bill was killed.

This week, it was an amendment that would include the Keystone XL pipeline on the bill that killed it.  Republicans believe Reid is once again preventing debate on the pipeline, and are attaching it to as many bills as possible.

The Senate voted 55-36 to move ahead with the Shaheen-Portman bill.  But it needed 60 to keep it alive.  Portman was still optimistic, telling Politico, ““At this point, [there are] not enough votes to get cloture. But on the other hand, the negotiation is pretty close and so I’m hoping it would be reconsidered and we can maybe take a breather … and reconsider just having four or five votes on amendments.”

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