Senate panel chair expects compromise energy bill next year

Senate panel chair expects compromise energy bill next year
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The Senate Energy Committee chair expects to be able to reconcile her chamber’s bipartisan energy reform bill with a version that passed the House on a nearly party-line vote Thursday.

Sen. Lisa MurkowskiLisa Ann MurkowskiSenators will have access to intelligence on Russian bounties on US troops Overnight Defense: Lawmakers demand answers on reported Russian bounties for US troops deaths in Afghanistan | Defense bill amendments target Germany withdrawal, Pentagon program giving weapons to police Senators push to limit transfer of military-grade equipment to police MORE (R-Alaska) on Thursday said her energy policy overhaul package should hit the Senate floor in the new year. The bill won a big bipartisan vote in the Energy and Natural Resources Committee this summer, and she expects to be able to craft a similar compromise with House lawmakers later in 2016.

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“Obviously we like the Senate bill, we think that has been a good coming together on a lot of these important issues as we modernize our energy policies and strategies,” Murkowski said at an event held by The Hill and sponsored by ABB, Inc. on Thursday.

“I like the Senate bill. I think the House has been working hard and we appreciate that, but absolutely there is room to meld the two together when we get to that point in time.”

Murkowski negotiated her energy reform bill with Sen. Maria Cantwell (D-Wash.), the ranking Democrat on her committee. The Energy Committee approved the legislation on an 18-4 vote in July.

The package includes provisions to speed up liquefied natural gas exports, indefinitely authorize the federal government’s main conservation fund, reform or remove outdated programs and prepare the electric grid for modern needs, among other things.

Rep. Fred UptonFrederick (Fred) Stephen UptonKaren Bass's star rises after leading police reform push The Hill's 12:30 Report - Presented by Facebook - States are pausing reopening Democrats release bilingual ads on police reform bill MORE’s (R-Mich.) reform bill, which has similar goals but different language, passed the House on a 249-174 vote Thursday, but only nine Democrats voted for it. The White House also threatened a veto over several provisions within it.

Murkowski said she didn’t look to fill the Senate bill with many party-line priorities, such as expanding energy development in the Arctic National Wildlife Reserve. She said she hopes future negotiations on energy policy look like those on education, which yielded a bipartisan overhaul bill that lawmakers hope to send to President Obama next week.   

“This bill is not Lisa Murkowski’s perfect bill,” she said. “But I knew there were certain things that were not going to pass muster in that open process.”

Sen. Martin HeinrichMartin Trevor HeinrichThe Hill's Coronavirus Report: Rep. Rodney Davis says most important thing White House can do on COVID-19 is give consistent messaging; US new cases surpass 50k for first time Overnight Defense: Navy won't reinstate fired captain | Dems probe use of federal officers in DC | Air Force appoints woman as top noncommissioned officer Dems request watchdog probe use of federal law enforcement in DC during Floyd protests MORE (D-N.M.), a member of the energy panel, concurred and said he expects to see a bill land on Obama’s desk next year.

“It’s not an easy time to put together energy legislation,” he said at The Hill's event. “I wouldn’t describe the legislation as sweeping. It has a lot of parts to it, but I think it struck the right balance given where we are today.”