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 MurkowskiHillicon Valley: Hacker group targeted electric grid | House Democrats press CBP over facial recognition program | Senators offer bill to protect health data | Groups file FCC complaint over carriers' use of location data Hillicon Valley: Hacker group targeted electric grid | House Democrats press CBP over facial recognition program | Senators offer bill to protect health data | Groups file FCC complaint over carriers' use of location data Klobuchar, Murkowski introduce legislation to protect consumer health data 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liquefied natural gas exports, indefinitely authorize the federal government’s main conservation fund, reform or remove outdated programs and prepare the electric grid for modern needs, among other things.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 UptonHouse passes bill to protect 'Dreamers' Thirty-four GOP members buck Trump on disaster bill Overnight Health Care: Lawmakers get deal to advance long-stalled drug pricing bill | House votes to condemn Trump's anti-ObamaCare push | Eight House Republicans join with Dems | Trump officials approve Medicaid expansion in Maine 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 HeinrichOvernight Energy: Democrats ask if EPA chief misled on vehicle emissions | Dem senators want NBC debate focused on climate change | 2020 hopeful John Delaney unveils T climate plan Democratic senators want NBC primary debate to focus on climate change Collins offering bill to boost battery research as GOP pushes energy 'innovation' 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.”