Energy-efficiency bill clears Senate panel

A bill viewed as a bellwether of the Senate’s appetite for passing energy-efficiency legislation breezed through the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee on Wednesday.

The bill (S.761), co-sponsored by Sens. Jeanne ShaheenCynthia (Jeanne) Jeanne ShaheenWeek ahead: Crunch time for defense bill’s cyber reforms | Equifax under scrutiny Five things to know about the Kaspersky-Russia controversy DHS bans Kaspersky software in federal agencies MORE (D-N.H.) and Rob PortmanRobert (Rob) Jones PortmanWeek ahead in tech: Debate over online sex trafficking bill heats up 'Hillbilly Elegy' author won't run for Senate Brown, Portman urge Trump administration to move quickly on a steel decision MORE (R-Ohio), passed the committee by a 19-3 vote. Republican Sens. Mike LeeMichael (Mike) Shumway LeeOvernight Defense: Senate passes 0B defense bill | 3,000 US troops heading to Afghanistan | Two more Navy officials fired over ship collisions Senate passes 0B defense bill Overnight Finance: CBO to release limited analysis of ObamaCare repeal bill | DOJ investigates Equifax stock sales | House weighs tougher rules for banks dealing with North Korea MORE (Utah), Tim ScottTimothy (Tim) Eugene ScottWhy President Trump’s 'both sides' argument has merit GOP senator: 'There is no realistic comparison' between antifa and white supremacists Trump on white supremacists: ‘Pretty bad dudes on the other side also' MORE (S.C.) and Jeff FlakeJeffrey (Jeff) Lane FlakeCorker pressed as reelection challenges mount -trillion debt puts US fiscal house on very shaky ground Senate votes down Paul's bid to revoke war authorizations MORE (Ariz.) opposed the measure.

But even the bipartisan endorsement for the bill might not be enough to get it to the floor. A similar version last year fell victim to a disagreement between Senate Majority Leader Harry ReidHarry ReidThe Memo: Trump pulls off a stone-cold stunner The Memo: Ending DACA a risky move for Trump Manchin pressed from both sides in reelection fight MORE (D-Nev.) and Minority Leader Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellSenate passes 0B defense bill Overnight Health Care: New GOP ObamaCare repeal bill gains momentum Overnight Finance: CBO to release limited analysis of ObamaCare repeal bill | DOJ investigates Equifax stock sales | House weighs tougher rules for banks dealing with North Korea MORE (R-Ky.) regarding amendments.

Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee Chairman Ron WydenRonald (Ron) Lee WydenSenate Dems hold floor talk-a-thon against latest ObamaCare repeal bill Overnight Defense: Senate passes 0B defense bill | 3,000 US troops heading to Afghanistan | Two more Navy officials fired over ship collisions Finance to hold hearing on ObamaCare repeal bill MORE (D-Ore.) said he was determined to avoid the same fate this time around.

“We want to do what’s doable. As you know, it’s fairly easy to blow things up in the United States Senate, and it’s more challenging to thread the needle. A whole lot of senators this morning with differing philosophical views showed a lot of goodwill. That’s what we’re going to bring to Sen. Reid and Sen. McConnell,” Wyden told reporters after the mark up.

Sen. Lisa MurkowskiLisa Ann MurkowskiSenate Dems hold floor talk-a-thon against latest ObamaCare repeal bill Collins skeptical of new ObamaCare repeal effort How Senate relationships could decide ObamaCare repeal MORE (R-Alaska), the committee’s top Republican, said she and Wyden plan to ask Senate leaders to limit amendments — both in number and in scope.

Wyden predicted that lawmakers would resist pinning controversial amendments onto the bill because “people have had a belly-full of paralysis” and want to see legislation passed.

The legislation aims to encourage energy-efficiency upgrades at residential, commercial and industrial buildings. It would do so by authorizing voluntary standards for new building codes, a state-based private financing program for boosting efficiency and directing the federal government to employ energy-saving practices.

Shaheen and Portman removed some of the thornier issues from last session’s version — such as an authorization for a federal loan guarantee program — that prickled fiscal conservatives. They said doing so would help it get through the Senate.

The committee also approved four hydropower bills on Wednesday that would ease permitting for small projects.

Wyden said those bills would help “put points on the board in the fight against climate change,” and that he expects those to pass the full Senate.