While the passage of a raft of GOP-backed energy bills this month appeared to widen the divide between House Democrats and Republicans, a pair of lawmakers has forged a genuinely bipartisan plan to increase energy efficiency in the federal government.
Reps. Peter Welch, D-Vt., and Cory Gardner, R-Colo., introduced a bill Thursday to allow federal agencies to expand the use of utility energy service contracts, which are agreements with utilities specifying “the amount of energy savings it will achieve through retrofits and other measures,” according to a news release about the bill. “The utility is then paid for its performance out of the savings it achieves.”
The legislation would allow agencies to enter into these performance contracts for up to 25 years, according to Welch and Gardner.
“The bill would allow private contractors to increase energy efficiency in federal agencies,” Gardner told National Journal Daily. “The longer contract leads to greater energy savings, and it’s a way to maximize the savings to the taxpayer.”
This isn’t the first time Welch and Gardner have collaborated on an energy-efficiency measure. The pair unveiled a similar plan to promote energy savings in federal buildings last July, and Welch is a cosponsor of a bill put forward with Rep. David McKinley, R-W.Va., that would serve as a companion to a Senate energy-efficiency bill introduced by Sens. Jeanne Shaheen, D-N.H., and Rob Portman, R-Ohio.
The utility service-contract bill dropped this week also has a companion measure introduced by Sens. Brian Schatz, D-Hawaii; Lamar Alexander, R-Tenn.; and Dan Coats, R-Ind.
So far none of the proposals has made it out of committee. What’s different this time around, congressional aides say, is that House leadership wants to see bipartisan legislation pass, in part, as a show of unity following the divisive partisan battles surrounding the government shutdown.
“All of us know that the shutdown and the conflict politics that came out of it have their limits,” Welch said. “If we find common ground on something, that will be good for the institution and for both parties.”
Welch and Gardner say they have also been working behind the scenes to build a broad consensus for energy efficiency, pointing to a letter signed this month by 70 Democrats and 47 Republicans in the House, along with Sens. Christopher Coons, D-Del., and John Boozman, R-Ark. The letter to the White House, dated Nov. 4 and released Wednesday, calls on President Obama to extend a directive to increase energy-efficiency efforts in federal agencies.
Gardner said he has spoken with House Majority Whip Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., about moving additional energy bills to the floor next year, including energy-efficiency legislation.
When asked whether he thought the legislation would gain traction in the deeply divided lower chamber, Gardner commented: “I think it can. If you’re looking for a trailblazer bill to show that you can create good policy with broad support, this bill is the perfect example.”
Welch agreed. “Congress has got to get things done, and the only way we’ll do that is by finding common ground,” he said. “Issues in energy are contentious but efficiency isn’t. Everyone agrees we need to have this done, so right now what we’re doing is trying to smooth all the edges down and make sure that we do this in a way that works for both sides.”
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Before we get to the specifics of this exposé about escorts working the Iowa and New Hampshire primary crowds, let’s get three things out of the way: 1.) It’s from Cosmopolitan; 2.) most of the women quoted use fake (if colorful) names; and 3.) again, it’s from Cosmopolitan. That said, here’s what we learned:
- Business was booming: one escort who says she typically gets two inquiries a weekend got 15 requests in the pre-primary weekend.
- Their primary season clientele is a bit older than normal—”40s through mid-60s, compared with mostly twentysomething regulars” and “they’ve clearly done this before.”
- They seemed more nervous than other clients, because “the stakes are higher when you’re working for a possible future president” but “all practiced impeccable manners.”
- One escort “typically enjoy[s] the company of Democrats more, just because I feel like our views line up a lot more.”
No matter where you stand on mandating companies to include a backdoor in encryption technologies, it doesn’t make sense to allow that decision to be made on a state level. “The problem with state-level legislation of this nature is that it manages to be both wildly impractical and entirely unenforceable,” writes Brian Barrett at Wired. There is a solution to this problem. “California Congressman Ted Lieu has introduced the ‘Ensuring National Constitutional Rights for Your Private Telecommunications Act of 2016,’ which we’ll call ENCRYPT. It’s a short, straightforward bill with a simple aim: to preempt states from attempting to implement their own anti-encryption policies at a state level.”
Much has been made of David Brooks’s recent New York Times column, in which confesses to missing already the civility and humanity of Barack Obama, compared to who might take his place. In NewYorker.com, Jeffrey Frank reminds us how critical such attributes are to foreign policy. “It’s hard to imagine Kennedy so casually referring to the leader of Russia as a gangster or a thug. For that matter, it’s hard to imagine any president comparing the Russian leader to Hitler [as] Hillary Clinton did at a private fund-raiser. … Kennedy, who always worried that miscalculation could lead to war, paid close attention to the language of diplomacy.”
The New Covenant. The Third Way. The Democratic Leadership Council style. Call it what you will, but whatever centrist triangulation Bill Clinton embraced in 1992, Hillary Clinton wants no part of it in 2016. Writing for Bloomberg, Sasha Issenberg and Margaret Talev explore how Hillary’s campaign has “diverged pointedly” from what made Bill so successful: “For Hillary to survive, Clintonism had to die.” Bill’s positions in 1992—from capital punishment to free trade—“represented a carefully calibrated diversion from the liberal orthodoxy of the previous decade.” But in New Hampshire, Hillary “worked to juggle nostalgia for past Clinton primary campaigns in the state with the fact that the Bill of 1992 or the Hillary of 2008 would likely be a marginal figure within today’s Democratic politics.”
At first, “it was pleasant” to see Trevor Noah “smiling away and deeply dimpling in the Stewart seat, the seat that had lately grown gray hairs,” writes The Atlantic‘s James Parker in assessing the new host of the once-indispensable Daily Show. But where Jon Stewart was a heavyweight, Noah is “a very able lightweight, [who] needs time too. But he won’t get any. As a culture, we’re not about to nurture this talent, to give it room to grow. Our patience was exhausted long ago, by some other guy. We’re going to pass judgment and move on. There’s a reason Simon Cowell is so rich. Impress us today or get thee hence. So it comes to this: It’s now or never, Trevor.”