Sens.-elect Heinrich, Hirono to join Energy committee

As expected, leadership officially announced Sen. Ron WydenRonald (Ron) Lee WydenDemocratic senator predicts Franken will resign Thursday Avalanche of Democratic senators say Franken should resign Lobbying world MORE (D-Ore.) would take the gavel from the outgoing Bingaman.

Green groups went all-in on Heinrich during the 2012 campaign. They hoped to keep Bingaman’s seat in environmentally friendly hands, viewing Heinrich as a champion of their causes.

Those groups coordinated spending and got into the race early, helping put daylight between him and former Rep. Heather Wilson (R-N.M.) in what was initially considered a close contest.

Shaheen’s exit, along with that of Bingaman, removes one of the more vocal energy efficiency advocates from the committee just as lawmakers are signaling the issue could gain traction next Congress.

Shaheen co-sponsored comprehensive energy efficiency legislation with committee colleague Sen. Rob PortmanRobert (Rob) Jones PortmanMcConnell names Senate GOP tax conferees Overnight Finance: House approves motion to go to tax conference — with drama | GOP leaders to consider Dec. 30 spending bill | Justices skeptical of ban on sports betting | Mulvaney won't fire official who sued him How four GOP senators guided a tax-bill victory behind the scenes MORE (R-Ohio). The bill has not received a vote.

Many of the bill’s concepts earned bipartisan praise from both House and Senate members in recent weeks. Several lawmakers have recently expressed optimism about moving a broad energy efficiency bill next session.

Democratic leadership also announced Wednesday that Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works assignments would remain the same.