White House threatens veto of House energy bill

White House threatens veto of House energy bill
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The Obama administration is threatening to veto a House bill overhauling federal energy policy. 

In a statement, the Office of Management and Budget said that the bill, from Rep. Fred Upton (R-Mich.), would “undermine already successful initiatives designed to modernize the nation's energy infrastructure and increase our energy efficiency.”

The White House hit the legislation for hurting Department of Energy programs designed to improve efficiency offerings and targeted provisions within the bill dealing with federal regulators’ oversight of energy systems.

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The bill also contains provisions dealing with hydropower that the administration said would “undercut bedrock environmental statues.” Taken together, the statement said, “if the President were presented with [the legislation], his senior advisors would recommend that he veto the bill.”

The energy overhaul bill focuses on modernizing infrastructure, improving energy efficiency and updating other federal energy policies. The House will vote on the legislation later this week, and if passed, it would be the first wholesale reform of federal energy policy in eight years. 

Upton’s bill, like a Senate equivalent, once enjoyed bipartisan support in committee, where an Energy and Commerce sub-panel passed it unanimously in July. 

But by the time the full committee considered the bill in September, it had shed much of its Democratic support, with lawmakers slamming new policy proposals added to the bill. 

At the time, Upton acknowledged that the bill didn’t have “bipartisan consensus on as many fronts as I would have liked.”

“We will continue working toward building a bipartisan consensus as our goal remains getting something to the president’s desk that will be signed into law. We are on to the floor,” he said then.