Energy conference to kick off work next week

Energy conference to kick off work next week
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Lawmakers on a joint House and Senate committee will meet next week to begin crafting a compromise energy policy bill. 

Sens. Lisa MurkowskiLisa Ann MurkowskiThe Hill's Morning Report - Progressives, centrists clash in lively Democratic debate Senate braces for brawl over Trump's spy chief Congress kicks bipartisan energy innovation into higher gear MORE (R-Alaska) and Maria CantwellMaria Elaine CantwellNative American advocates question 2020 Democrats' commitment Hillicon Valley: Trump reportedly weighing executive action on alleged tech bias | WH to convene summit on online extremism | Federal agencies banned from buying Huawei equipment | Lawmakers jump start privacy talks Lawmakers jump-start talks on privacy bill MORE (D-Wash.), the ranking members of the committee, announced the meeting on Friday. Members will meet Thursday at 9:30 a.m. 

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The hearing will be the first gathering of the more than 40 House and Senate members chosen to write a compromise bill that will reform federal energy policy for the first time in a decade. 

Members hope to use the bill to expand exports of liquefied natural gas, renew a major conservation fund, expand energy efficiency programs and protect the electric grid from cyberattacks, among other things. 

The meeting comes with time dwindling on the congressional calendar. Members return to Washington after Labor Day for a four-week session before breaking again for more than a month ahead of November’s elections. 

Members have long hoped to pass an energy reform bill this year, though several key players, including Rep. Fred Upton (R-Mich.), the chairman of the House Energy and Commerce Committee, have predicted a final bill will not pass before the post-election lame duck session of Congress.

Top energy lawmakers have said they want to write a measure that will win President Obama’s signature, even if it means stripping out several GOP-favored provisions included in the House version of the bill. 

The Senate’s legislation secured broad bipartisan support last spring, and most members backed a motion to go to a conference committee on the legislation despite environmentalists' concerns over the bill.