News Brief

Energy Bill Sinking Under Weight of Amendments

Tar sands and Obamacare debates could end it all for widely hoped-for Shaheen-Portman legislation.

Senator David Vitter is holding up energy reforms until he gets a vote on healthcare laws.

Photo: Alex Brandon/AP
Months before the Energy Savings and Industrial Competitiveness Act (S. 761) made it out of committee, acrimony over energy-related amendments was already apparent (see “Environmentalists Split Over Popular Energy Bill” and “The Hidden Beltway Lobbyists Who Shape Green Building Policy”). Now that debate on the bill has begun in the U.S. Senate, amendments that have nothing to do with energy efficiency could kill the bill for good—and one Senator is filibustering the bill until his amendment is voted on.

Proposed amendments so far would support the controversial Keystone XL oil pipeline; delay implementation of health insurance mandates; prevent unions from receiving health insurance subsidies; and require federal employees to purchase insurance through the healthcare exchanges provided for in the Affordable Care Act (a.k.a. “Obamacare”). David Vitter (R–Louisiana) introduced the latter and is stalling debate until it’s voted on.

According to The Hill, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D–Nevada) told the press last week that if these issues weren’t resolved soon, “the Senate would scrap the energy bill and instead take up a technology jobs bill.”

If passed, the Shaheen-Portman bill would help make energy codes more stringent, finance retrofits, and support training programs for building tradespeople and professionals.

Published September 30, 2013

Melton, P. (2013, September 30). Energy Bill Sinking Under Weight of Amendments. Retrieved from

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March 4, 2014 - 1:32 pm

Shaheen-Portman may live to see its day on the Senate floor. It was re-introduced last week, including the amendment regarding Section 433 of EISA.