Senators take another crack at energy bill

A bipartisan Senate duo on Thursday renewed the fight for passage of an energy efficiency bill.

Sens. Jeanne Shaheen (D-N.H.) and Rob Portman (R-Ohio) on Thursday reintroduced an energy efficiency bill that stalled in September after debates about the Affordable Care Act and the Keystone XL pipeline sidetracked the legislation.

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This time around, backers are optimistic the bill will pass. Sponsors include Sens. Mary Landrieu (D-La.), John Hoeven (R-N.D.), Kelly Ayotte (R- N.H.), and Chris Coons (D-Del.).

The revamped legislation includes an extra 10 amendments, ranging from efficiency retrofits on low-income housing to a program that promotes energy efficiency in leased commercial buildings. All of the additions are meant to help the bill garner enough support to pass the Senate.

"This bill has garnered such widespread support because of a simple fact — it is good for the economy and good for the environment. It’s part of an energy plan for America that can help bring the jobs back, help fix our trade deficit, help make our manufacturers more competitive, and actually help to protect the environment,” Portman said

So far the new version has received positive reactions.

"The Shaheen-Portman efficiency bill is an important step in making American businesses more competitive. Among its many provisions, the bill would strengthen the Department of Energy’s role in fostering technical support and supply-side energy efficiencies in the manufacturing sector," said Phyllis Cuttino, of Pew Charitable Trusts.

Still, the bill faces a long road ahead, with no signs of when the bill would be brought to the floor.