Moniz: Energy efficiency bill failure reinforces need for presidential action

Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz expressed disappointment Wednesday at least week’s failure of energy efficiency legislation in the Senate, saying it strengthens the need for the Obama administration to take action on its own.

“Let’s face it, it’s a poor reflection on our status of being able to move good governance forward,” Moniz said at an event organized by the Alliance to Save Energy.

The legislation’s fate also demonstrated the importance of President Obama’s push to take action on various fronts, including energy, in ways that do not require congressional approval. This includes regulation and executive actions, such as recent moves to increase federal buildings’ efficiency.

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“We’re going to just have to move with as many administrative tools as we can to keep momentum on both the demand and the supply side,” Moniz said.

The bill, sponsored by Sens. Jeanne Shaheen (D-N.H.) and Rob Portman (R-Ohio), failed to reach a 60-vote threshold in the Senate last week after nearly all Republicans voted against it. Rep. Peter Welch (D-Vt.) sponsored similar legislation in the House that passed last year.

“The Shaheen-Portman bill appears to have very widespread, bipartisan support, but no pathway to implementation,” Moniz said at an event organized by the Alliance to Save Energy. “The House companion bill, the Welch bill, ultimately of course will need bicameral support.”