The Senate is poised to take up bipartisan energy-efficiency legislation by month’s end, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., indicated last week. Many factors, including fights over amendments and the unrelated fight over nominations, could influence whether it passes, let alone gets to the floor.
If the measure, sponsored by Sens. Jeanne Shaheen, D-N.H., and Rob Portman, R-Ohio, does pass the Senate, a similar measure authored by Reps. David McKinley, R-W.Va., and Peter Welch, D-Vt., has a ways to go in the lower chamber. The bill must still get a hearing and markup in the House Energy and Commerce Committee. It’s unclear whether GOP leadership will prioritize the legislation and bring it to the floor.
What are the prospects that Congress can pass energy-efficiency legislation? Could other measures, such as a pair of hydropower bills that have passed the House but not yet the Senate, ultimately make it to President Obama’s desk? What hurdles do lawmakers face in getting even small-ball energy bills pass the legislative finish line? How can Washington overcome those barriers?