Energy & Environment

Senate committee advances bipartisan energy infrastructure bill 

Legislation that's expected to be a key piece of the bipartisan infrastructure package moved forward on Wednesday as Democrats separately fleshed out their reconciliation infrastructure bill. 

The Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee on Wednesday advanced an energy bill that's expected to be part of the bipartisan infrastructure framework by a 13-7 vote. 

Republican Sens. Lisa Murkowski (Alaska), Steve Daines (Mont.) and Bill Cassidy (La.) voted alongside all of the panel's Democrats in support of the bill. 

Last month, the panel held a legislative hearing on an earlier draft of the bill. It has since swelled from 423 pages to 495 pages. 

The vote to advance the legislation came after hours of amendments to the energy legislation.

In general, the legislation is expected to boost nuclear energy, hydrogen energy and carbon capture, which uses developing technology to capture emissions from activities such as burning fossil fuels. 

It would seek to bolster the electric grid's resilience to both natural disasters and cyber threats. 

The proposal would additionally aim to increase energy efficiency in buildings. 

New provisions added in since the first draft include expanded incentives for hydroelectric power, as well as additional provisions aimed at improving Western water infrastructure. 

In remarks in support of the bill, Sen. Mark Kelly (D-Ariz.) described the legislation as "an indispensable piece of the larger bipartisan infrastructure package."

The Senate is expected to advance two separate infrastructure bills: one that includes bipartisan priorities and will pass through regular order, and another for Democratic priorities that goes through a process called budget reconciliation that bypasses the filibuster and just needs a simple majority. 

The overall bipartisan framework, which is apparently expected to include the energy bill that was advanced on Wednesday, is expected to cost $1.2 trillion, while the newly announced reconciliation bill carries a $3.5 trillion price tag.

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