With lawmakers joining hands to pass a budget deal, could there be a push to advance other, less controversial bipartisan bills?
Sen. Jeanne Shaheen, D-N.H., the author of an embattled energy-efficiency bill, certainly hopes so.
“I’m optimistic that we can find a way forward,” Shaheen told National Journal in the Capitol on Tuesday, when asked about the status of the legislation.
Despite the fact that the measure, which Shaheen cosponsored with Sen. Rob Portman, R-Ohio, has wide bipartisan support, its progress stalled in the fall when it became mired down in debate over the Affordable Care Act and other hot-button issues unrelated to the legislation itself. The bill contains incentives to speed adoption of energy-efficient technologies in the commercial, residential, and industrial sectors as well as by the federal government.
Shaheen and Portman, along with their staffers, have been working behind the scenes for the past few months, however, to win enough votes to invoke cloture in the Senate to cut off debate when the legislation is reintroduced.
That work, Shaheen said, is ongoing.
“We’ve secured a number of votes,” she said. “And we’re working on securing a few more.”
Shaheen said that while she does not yet know when the legislation might be taken up again by the full Senate, she is hoping to make an announcement with Portman on the Senate floor this week regarding the measure.
A Senate aide said the announcement has not yet been scheduled but that the senator is hoping to highlight the progress that’s been made to advance the bill so far and press for action on the legislation next year.
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Foreign Policy takes a look at the future of mining the estimated "100,000 near-Earth objects—including asteroids and comets—in the neighborhood of our planet. Some of these NEOs, as they’re called, are small. Others are substantial and potentially packed full of water and various important minerals, such as nickel, cobalt, and iron. One day, advocates believe, those objects will be tapped by variations on the equipment used in the coal mines of Kentucky or in the diamond mines of Africa. And for immense gain: According to industry experts, the contents of a single asteroid could be worth trillions of dollars." But the technology to get us there is only the first step. Experts say "a multinational body might emerge" to manage rights to NEOs, as well as a body of law, including an international court.
Not to be outdone by Jeffrey Goldberg's recent piece in The Atlantic about President Obama's foreign policy, the New York Times Magazine checks in with a longread on the president's economic legacy. In it, Obama is cognizant that the economic reality--73 straight months of growth--isn't matched by public perceptions. Some of that, he says, is due to a constant drumbeat from the right that "that denies any progress." But he also accepts some blame himself. “I mean, the truth of the matter is that if we had been able to more effectively communicate all the steps we had taken to the swing voter,” he said, “then we might have maintained a majority in the House or the Senate.”
Ronald Reagan's children and political allies took to the media and Twitter this week to chide funnyman Will Ferrell for his plans to play a dementia-addled Reagan in his second term in a new comedy entitled Reagan. In an open letter, Reagan's daughter Patti Davis tells Ferrell, who's also a producer on the movie, “Perhaps for your comedy you would like to visit some dementia facilities. I have—I didn’t find anything comedic there, and my hope would be that if you’re a decent human being, you wouldn’t either.” Michael Reagan, the president's son, tweeted, "What an Outrag....Alzheimers is not joke...It kills..You should be ashamed all of you." And former Rep. Joe Walsh called it an example of "Hollywood taking a shot at conservatives again."
In a sign that she’s ready to put a longer-than-expected primary battle behind her, former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton (D) is no longer going on the air in upcoming primary states. “Team Clinton hasn’t spent a single cent in … California, Indiana, Kentucky, Oregon and West Virginia, while” Sen. Bernie Sanders’ (I-VT) “campaign has spent a little more than $1 million in those same states.” Meanwhile, Sen. Jeff Merkley (D-OR), Sanders’ "lone backer in the Senate, said the candidate should end his presidential campaign if he’s losing to Hillary Clinton after the primary season concludes in June, breaking sharply with the candidate who is vowing to take his insurgent bid to the party convention in Philadelphia.”
The team behind the bestselling "Clinton Cash"—author Peter Schweizer and Breitbart's Stephen Bannon—is turning the book into a movie that will have its U.S. premiere just before the Democratic National Convention this summer. The film will get its global debut "next month in Cannes, France, during the Cannes Film Festival. (The movie is not a part of the festival, but will be shown at a screening arranged for distributors)." Bloomberg has a trailer up, pointing out that it's "less Ken Burns than Jerry Bruckheimer, featuring blood-drenched money, radical madrassas, and ominous footage of the Clintons."