Senators promise to file energy measure as amendment to every Senate bill

Sen. Jeanne Shaheen (D-N.H.) will try to tack her energy efficiency legislation onto every Senate bill called on the floor for the rest of session, she told The Hill on Monday.

The bill, S. 1000, is co-sponsored by Sen. Rob Portman (R-Ohio). It passed the Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources by an 18-3 vote in July and has the backing of Chairman Jeff Bingaman (D-N.M.) and ranking member Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska).

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Shaheen on Monday filed the bill as an amendment to Sen. Joe Lieberman's (I-Conn.) Cybersecurity Act.

“This is the fourth bill that we’ve filed an amendment on, and we’re going to keep doing that to try and raise attention to the fact that this is legislation that has bipartisan support that we think should come to the floor because we think it could make a difference,” Shaheen said.

If that bill gets through, the House has a similar, but less comprehensive, bill waiting, Shaheen said. She said she has heard the House Energy and Commerce Committee will hold a full committee markup of that bill, H.R. 4017, which is sponsored by Reps. Charles Bass (R-N.H.) and Jim Matheson (D-Utah). An aide clarified Monday that the senator is hopeful, but has not definitively heard, that such a markup will take place.

The Bass-Matheson bill already went through a joint hearing for the Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Energy and Power and Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations earlier this month.

“There is a prospect that that could actually get through the House so we could get to a committee and conference them, and we could potentially get legislation then,” Shaheen said. 

No additional hearings are currently scheduled for the Bass-Matheson bill, a GOP aide said.

The Shaheen-Portman bill will lower consumers’ net energy costs $4 billion annually and add 80,000 jobs by 2020, according to a white paper by the American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy. It would also slash carbon dioxide emissions by 29 million metric tons per year by 2020.

But the bill, which relies on tax incentives and loan programs, has been stuck largely because of disagreements on the federal tax code and how to address the federal debt and deficit.

The bill would make national model building codes more energy efficient with the goal of reaching net-zero-energy building for new homes and commercial sites by 2030. It would also expand an Energy Department (DOE) loan guarantee program to include efficiency retrofits.

The bill also would make the federal government use energy-saving processes for computers, create a DOE efficiency certification program for manufacturing supply chains and encourage DOE to partner with private firms on energy efficiency research and development.