The strategy, according to Senate aides and advocates of the measure, is to find the right mix of amendments to win moderate Republicans’ backing. All of the potential amendments have bipartisan sponsors, many of them red-state Democrats.
One energy insider familiar with talks between lawmakers and industry groups said “there is optimism” that support will soon exceed the 60-vote threshold needed to overcome obstruction from those who want to see checks on the Affordable Care Act and other unrelated proposals added to the legislation.
More than 100 amendments were attached to the bill the first time around; this time, the focus will be on just a few, said Jim Pauley, a government-relations executive for Schneider Electric, which backs the legislation. The amendments being discussed include:
- A proposal by Sens. Michael Bennet, D-Colo., and Kelly Ayotte, R-N.H., to measure energy savings by individual tenants in multiuse buildings.
- A measure to enhance thermal efficiency, proposed by Sens. Tom Coburn, R-Okla., and Thomas Carper, D-Del.
- A requirement added by Sens. Jeff Sessions, R-Ala., and Mark Pryor, D-Ark., that would push the Energy Department to use third-party certification programs to verify product ratings, rather than conducting similar testing of its own.
- An amendment to protect certain materials from “disfavor” in General Services Administration building certifications, proposed by Pryor and Sens. Mary Landrieu, D-La., and Roger Wicker, R-Miss.
- Allowance of grid-enabled water heaters, along with additional standards, added by Pryor and Sen. John Hoeven, R-N.D.
- A proposal by Sens. Mark Udall, D-Colo., and James Risch, R-Idaho, to lower energy consumption in federal data centers.
A pair of other potential amendments are also under consideration, Pauley said. One, proposed by Hoeven and Sen. Joe Manchin, D-W.Va., would roll back a requirement that federal buildings eliminate fossil-fuel usage by 2030, replacing it with efficiency levels that don’t target specific fuels. That may draw opposition from some of the more progressive members of the Democratic caucus, but it could also bring some Republicans on board.
The other would allow loan agencies to factor home energy efficiency into mortgage-writing; it is backed by Bennet and Sen. Johnny Isakson, R-Ga. A Senate aide with involvement in the legislation confirmed those amendments are part of the negotiations.
“There’s been a ramped-up or increased pace of meetings this week in exploring a bunch of different ways to increase support for Shaheen-Portman, especially among Republicans,” added a Democratic Senate aide. “There have been discussions about amendments being one way to do that.” Still, the aide emphasized that no single strategy has been set in stone.
Another Republican aide echoed that behind-the-scenes work has been ongoing. “Portman is working to get bipartisan agreements to get to 60 votes,” said the staffer, singling out Hoeven as a potential key vote. “Hoeven’s a guy that a lot of folks look to,” agreed another Senate staffer, adding that there are already at least 59 potential yes votes for the bill.
All the aides agreed that hitting the 60-vote threshold would greatly increase the likelihood that Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., would move the bill. “If folks can make a case that there’s a lot of support for this, then that makes it easier to bring it back to the floor,” said the Democratic aide.
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There seems to be a clear consensus forming about Monday's debate: Hillary Clinton was the clear winner. One focus group of undecided Pennsylvania voters, conducted by GOP pollster Frank Luntz, found 16 favored Clinton while five picked Donald Trump. In a Florida focus group organized by CNN, 18 of 20 undecided voters saw Clinton as the winner.
As both candidates walked off the stage, Donald Trump lauded himself for being restrained and for not bringing up Bill Clinton. "I didn’t want to say—her husband was in the room along with her daughter, who I think is a very nice young lady—and I didn’t want to say what I was going to say about what’s been going on in their life," Trump said. Trump claims he stopped himself from hitting Bill Clinton because daughter Chelsea was in the room.
At the end of the debate, moderator Lester Holt asked Donald Trump if he stands by his statement that Hillary Clinton didn't have the look of a president. Trump responded by saying Holt misquoted him, instead saying that Clinton "doesn't have the stamina." Clinton responded by saying that when Trump visits 112 countries as secretary of state, he can talk to her about stamina.
Donald Trump, when pressed by Lester Holt on why he finally admitted that President Obama was born in America, repeated his widely debunked claim that it was started by Hillary Clinton.
Hillary Clinton went point by point on how race can so often determine the treatment that people receive, mentioning recent shootings in Tulsa and Charlotte, calling for restored trust between communities and police, and demanding criminal justice reform. Trump responded by calling for law and order and touting his endorsements from police unions. He then said that “African Americans are living in hell,” saying they are just walking down the street and getting “shot ... being decimated by crime."