Energy & Environment

Energy efficiency bill passes Senate in early morning

Sens. Rob Portman (R-Ohio) and Jeanne Shaheen (D-N.H.) squeaked in a vote early Friday morning on their energy efficiency bill after the Senate ended an hours-long marathon on the budget. 
The Energy Efficiency Improvement Act was passed by voice vote, with the two senators the only two on the floor after 4 a.m. Friday. The legislation focuses on improving energy efficiency in buildings, while also exempting thermal storage water heaters from upcoming energy standards.
{mosads}The senators’ move follows a years-long push to get energy legislation passed, with a more expansive bill introduced earlier this month, called the Energy Savings and Industrial Competitiveness Act. The water heater provision is in both bills. 
Previous energy bills from the bipartisan duo have received broad support but been bogged down in political fights that prevented passage.
Last year, a bill almost made it to the Senate floor for a vote. But Republicans blocked it after then-Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) refused to allow a variety of amendments to the bill, including one to approve the controversial Keystone XL pipeline. 
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