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Obama signs energy efficiency bill into law

President Obama on Thursday signed into law a measure that is intended to improve energy efficiency in buildings and stop efficiency rules for certain water heaters.

The measure had strong bipartisan support and easily passed the Senate in March and the House in April.

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It creates new voluntary building efficiency standards and exempts certain grid-enabled water heaters from efficiency regulations.

Obama brought to the White House energy efficiency advocates and the leading congressional backers of the legislation, including Sens. Rob PortmanRobert (Rob) Jones PortmanKellyanne Conway joins Ohio Senate candidate's campaign OVERNIGHT ENERGY: Senate confirms Mallory to lead White House environment council | US emissions dropped 1.7 percent in 2019 | Interior further delays Trump rule that would make drillers pay less to feds Senate confirms Biden's pick to lead White House environmental council MORE (R-Ohio) and Jeanne ShaheenCynthia (Jeanne) Jeanne ShaheenThe Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Tax March - US vaccine effort takes hit with Johnson & Johnson pause GOP lawmaker 'encouraged' by Biden's Afghanistan strategy Biden sparks bipartisan backlash on Afghanistan withdrawal  MORE (D-N.H.), for the signing ceremony, along with Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz.

“What we’ve seen is a coming together of Republicans and Democrats who are going to facilitate us being much smarter in terms of building buildings, how we use energy and, as a consequence, we’re going to save money for consumers, we’re going to save money for businesses, and we’re going to deal with issues like climate change that have an enormous economic and health impact on Americans as a whole,” Obama said before signing the bill, according to the White House.

The provisions contained in the bill were once part of a much broader energy efficiency package that Portman and Shaheen pushed in the last Congress with bipartisan support, but that got caught up in a fight over the Keystone XL oil pipeline and never passed.

Shaheen said she was glad to have the smaller measure signed into law.

“It’s always tough to convince Washington to not play politics with a good idea,” she said in a statement. “But persistence has paid-off and this legislation is a small but significant victory over legislative gridlock.”