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Can Congress Pass Energy-Efficiency? Can Congress Pass Energy-Efficiency?

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Can Congress Pass Energy-Efficiency?


Can lawmakers make energy use more efficient?(Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)

In an intensely partisan political climate, can bipartisan energy-efficiency legislation make it past hurdles on Capitol Hill?

After months of speculation, Sens. Jeanne Shaheen, D-N.H., and Rob Portman, R-Ohio, last week introduced a revised version of an energy-efficiency bill that was brought to the Senate floor in September. Backers of the bill say it has enough support to clear the 60-vote hurdle needed to end debate and see a vote in the Senate. But a path forward on energy savings is still far from clear and Senate leadership has not set a date for the bill to come to the floor.


Meanwhile, the House is set to vote this week on a different legislative package aimed at bolstering energy savings. The bill is sponsored by Reps. David McKinley, R-W.Va., and Peter Welch, D-Vt., and nicknamed "Tenant Star." It will be considered under a suspension of the rules and is expected to pass.

Will House passage of an energy conservation bill spur Senate action and is there enough political will in both chambers to carry energy-efficiency legislation across the finish line? What obstacles are most likely to thwart passage of the legislation? And what's at stake—politically, economically, and environmentally—if energy efficiency gets stuck in the mud?

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