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.
What We're Following See More »
Trump wants to move the two grants, the High Intensity Drug Trafficking Areas grant and the Drug Free Communities Act, to the Justice and Health and Human Services departments, respectively. This would result in a $300 million plus reduction in funding, about 95 percent of the cost of the Office of National Drug Control Policy. "'I’m baffled at the idea of cutting the office or reducing it significantly and taking away its programs in the middle of an epidemic,'" said Regina LaBelle, who served as ONDCP chief of staff during the Obama administration. This is the second time the Trump Administration has proposed gutting the agency.
A new report assembled by the watchdog group Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington has identified more than 500 potential conflicts of interest in President Trump's first year. First, the report notes, Trump spent 122 days at his properties during his first year. He has been accompanied by 70 federal officials and 30 members of Congress. "Second, far from this signaled access to power being an empty promise, those who patronize President Trump’s businesses have, in fact, gained access to the president and his inner circle." Lastly, about 40 special interest groups and 11 foreign governments have held events at Trump properties.