Democrats focus on two amendments for Senate energy bill

Democrats focus on two amendments for Senate energy bill
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Senate Democrats appear to be narrowing their efforts to battle climate change through a fast-moving energy bill, focusing on two amendments that have proven controversial in the upper chamber.

A Senate aide told The Hill on Friday that Democrats plan to push for amendments on energy efficiency and reducing the use of hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs), saying in an email that the measures “have teeth and would address climate change in a significant way.”

Democrats previously vowed to also go to bat for clean energy tax credits as part of the bill from Sens. Lisa MurkowskiLisa Ann MurkowskiCongress should reject H.R. 1619's dangerous anywhere, any place casino precedent Democratic frustration growing over stagnating voting rights bills Graham emerges as go-to ally for Biden's judicial picks MORE (R-Alaska) and Joe ManchinJoe ManchinSchumer: 'Goal' is to pass Biden spending bill before Christmas The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Facebook - Biden to update Americans on omicron; Congress back This week: Congress starts year-end legislative sprint MORE (D-W.Va.), which is aimed at spurring research and development into renewable energy as well as technology to ease pollution from fossil fuels.


On Thursday, Murkowski threw her support behind 18 provisions from senators across the ideological spectrum, saying she would package them as a modified substitute amendment.

“Our bill now addresses priorities from nearly 70 members of the Senate. We have made it even better than it was, and now we need to move on to our final steps,” she said on the Senate floor. 

The list, however, doesn't include several provisions that Democrats — and some Republicans — have been fighting to add in.

A spokesperson for Sen. Ron WydenRonald (Ron) Lee WydenSenate GOP blocks defense bill, throwing it into limbo Lobbyists turn to infrastructure law's implementation Democrats plow ahead as Manchin yo-yos MORE (D-Ore.), who proposed an amendment aiming to expand tax incentives for electric vehicles and renewable energy, said the senator’s provision won’t be included in the legislation since it wasn’t on Murkowski’s list. 

“It won’t be included in this package given that it was not one of the 18 amendments added,” the official told The Hill. “Senator Wyden will continue to look for opportunities to move these energy tax policies.”

The two amendments that Democrats will continue pushing were also not on the list.

One is a building codes amendment from Sens. Jeanne ShaheenCynthia (Jeanne) Jeanne ShaheenBiden administration resists tougher Russia sanctions in Congress GOP holds on Biden nominees set back gains for women in top positions Sununu setback leaves GOP scrambling in New Hampshire MORE (D-N.H.) and Rob PortmanRobert (Rob) Jones PortmanBipartisan success in the Senate signals room for more compromise Overnight Defense & National Security — Presented by Boeing — US mulls Afghan evacuees' future Hillicon Valley — Presented by Ericsson — DOJ unveils new election hacking charges MORE (R-Ohio) that would try to make new homes more energy efficient, though the codes are voluntary and at states’ discretion.

The HFCs provision, from Sens. Tom CarperThomas (Tom) Richard CarperFive ways Senate could change Biden's spending plan Advocates see pilot program to address inequalities from highways as crucial first step Democrats plow ahead as Manchin yo-yos MORE (D-Del.) and John KennedyJohn Neely KennedyMORE (R-La.), would aim to lessen the use of the heat-trapping chemicals in refrigerators and air conditioners and is becoming a major sticking point in the energy bill negotiations.

Kennedy will continue to push for a vote on the measure, an official told The Hill on Friday.

The senator previously said that he would hold up the entire bill to try to include his proposal, which has been met with opposition from some Republicans and the White House, who say language should be included to prevent states from setting their own stricter standards.


Sen. John BarrassoJohn Anthony BarrassoSunday shows - Spotlight shifts to omicron variant Barrasso calls Biden's agenda 'Alice in Wonderland' logic: 'He's the Mad Hatter' Sunday shows preview: New COVID-19 variant emerges; supply chain issues and inflation persist MORE (R-Wyo.), who is among those voicing concerns with the proposal, told The Hill on Thursday that he is working with Kennedy and Carper on changes to their amendment.

The Murkowski-Manchin bill, which was introduced last week, would promote research in renewables such as geothermal and wave technology, as well as nuclear energy. It also contains controversial provision that could fast-track mining of minerals needed for the batteries to support long-term use of wind and solar.

Rebecca Beitsch contributed.