Energy efficiency bill symbolizes Senate 'dysfunction,' Heitkamp says

The bipartisan energy efficiency bill that fell flat in May hits a nerve with Sen. Heidi Heitkamp (D-N.D.), who says it is a symbol of the Senate's growing dysfunction.

"I think that that piece of legislation has become a strong symbol of dysfunction," Heitkamp said during a policy dinner hosted by The Hill Monday.

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The energy efficiency bill cosponsored by Sens. Jeanne Shaheen (D-N.H.) and Rob Portman (R-Ohio) collapsed on the Senate floor last month after becoming embroiled in debate over attachments on the Keystone XL pipeline, and the administration's carbon regulations.

"It is an important piece of energy legislation as a vehicle to have a discussion about other pieces, such as Keystone, such as fossil fuel development. Vote them up or down and let's just move on," Heitkamp said.

She added: "I will tell you though that it will go down for a lot of us as symbolic of what's wrong with the institution."

The failure to pass a piece of legislation that Heitkamp said has roughly 80 percent of the Senate behind it has generated "a lot of discussion" among lawmakers.

Still, the likelihood of the energy efficiency bill coming to the floor for a third time before November is slim.