Does Washington have what it takes to pass an energy-efficiency bill?
A bipartisan energy-efficiency bill is again expected to be pushed to the back burner this week as the Senate is expected to consider a Syria resolution right away. It's unclear when or if the Senate will consider the small-ball energy bill after Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., had initially put it on the calendar for this week last month.
The bill, sponsored by Sens. Jeanne Shaheen, D-N.H., and Rob Portman, R-Ohio, has come close to receiving floor consideration in the past couple of years but never quite got there. This time could be different, with Reid putting more of his leadership heft behind the effort.
What challenges, including foreign policy issues like Syria, could upend the bill's consideration? When (or if) a debate commences, what obstacles will the Senate confront? How will fights over other issues, such as the Keystone XL pipeline and climate-change rules, affect the debate?
If the measure 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.
If an energy-efficiency bill does finally make its way to President Obama's desk, would it have a sizable impact on the nation's energy policy? Or is its passage more symbolic?