Week ahead: Senate aims to wrap up energy reform bill

The Senate will pick up debate on its energy overhaul bill in the coming week.

Lawmakers have filed more than 100 amendments to the bill, which itself is a major rewrite of federal energy policy.

The legislation, from Sens. Lisa MurkowskiLisa MurkowskiTrump’s Army pick faces tough confirmation fight Republican Sen. Collins considering run for Maine governor in 2018 Alaska senators push bill to allow Arctic drilling MORE (R-Alaska) and Maria CantwellMaria CantwellUnited explains passenger removal to senators Report: GOP lawmakers selling access to top staffers Bipartisan group demands answers on United incident MORE (D-Wash.), includes provisions to speed up the export of liquefied natural gas, indefinitely expand a conservation fund, update the electricity grid and reform other energy policies.

Members have worked hard to preserve the legislation’s bipartisan appeal — it cleared committee on an 18-4 vote — and none of the amendments approved during the first week of debate threw the bill off track. Senators advanced 11 amendments in Thursday, but they only held roll-call votes on those relating to nuclear research, funding for advanced energy and a study on crude oil exports.

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That’s not to say there aren’t controversial, contentious or high-profile amendments waiting in the wings. A host of Democrats, led by Michigan Sens. Debbie StabenowDebbie StabenowUSDA to ease school meal standards Medicare’s coverage decisions need more input from physicians Members help package meals at Kraft Heinz charity event in DC MORE and Gary Peters, want to attach a $600 million aid package for Flint, Mich., to the bill.

California Sens. Dianne FeinsteinDianne FeinsteinDemocrats exploring lawsuit against Trump Overnight Finance: Dems explore lawsuit against Trump | Full-court press for Trump tax plan | Clock ticks down to spending deadline Comey to testify before Senate Judiciary Committee MORE and Barbara BoxerBarbara BoxerAnother day, another dollar for retirement advice rip-offs Carly Fiorina 'certainly looking at' Virginia Senate run Top Obama adviser signs with Hollywood talent agency: report MORE introduced an amendment on Friday calling for a formal federal response to a methane leak at a natural gas storage facility outside of Los Angeles.

Lawmakers have also introduced amendments dealing with several other controversial issues and pet projects, including cutting fossil fuel tax credits or ending the federal ethanol mandate. But it’s unlikely the bill’s managers will be enthusiastic to bring such measures to the floor for a vote.

“It is the beginning of a series of steps that we will take to modernize our nation’s energy, as well as our mineral policies,” Murkowski, the chairwoman of the Energy and Natural Resources Committee, said on Thursday.

Senators will resume debate on the legislation Monday, begin amendment votes on Tuesday, and look to approve the bill by the end of the week.

Elsewhere, committees on both sides of the Capitol are gearing up to resume work after the recent blizzard canceled many events.

The House Space, Science and Technology Committee will hold a hearing on the Paris climate deal on Tuesday. Industry experts, including the Chamber of Commerce, will discuss what the committee calls a “bad deal for America.”

The Committee on Natural Resources will mark up 18 bills on Wednesday. A list can be found here.

In the Senate, the Environment and Public Works Committee will hold a hearing Wednesday on the Obama administration’s coal mining rule for streams and waterways. The House passed a bill this month blocking the rule.

 

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