11/29/13 : Kelsey LaFreniere

Shaheen-Portman Update (Courtesy of #GEED)

The United States Capitol rotunda

"Time's A Wastin.'"

In the face of partisan debates and a legislative year that is quickly coming to a close, the sponsors of the Energy Savings and Industrial Competitiveness Act, also known as Shaheen-Portman, are not giving up—and are determined to get the bill through by the end of the year.

At the our Great Energy Efficiency Day (GEED) last week, Senator Rob Portman (R-Ohio.) expressed his belief that the time left in 2013 is a window of opportunity that will start to close once the new year commences. 

"The primary roadblock is finding floor time. We've already had good debates and we took it to the floor earlier. "This is really an important time (for efficiency). We have a great bill in the senate with bipartisan support" - Sen. Rob Portman (R-Ohio.)

But earlier this fall, the bill’s success was compromised by a series of unfortunate events—conflict in Syria, the government shutdown, and insistence that the bill be paired with a non-germane healthcare amendment.

The arguments for the bill are clear. Shaheen-Portman would foster energy efficiency technologies in the residential, commercial, and industrial sectors of the economy, while also stimulating job creation and reducing carbon emissions. This is the “low-hanging fruit” that could ease environmental problems, trade deficits, and income disparity according to Sen. Portman.

But even with these clear benefits, Sen. Jeanne Shaheen warned that failure to capitalize on such a popular and bipartisan could prove fatal for future energy legislation.

"If we can't do this, it's going to be very difficult to do anything else on energy policy in this country” - Sen. Jeanne Shaheen (D-N.H.)

In addition to the benefits of the bill itself, passage of the legislation would open up the “road to further energy policy,” according to Senator Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH). She added that fifteen bipartisan amendments have been cleared by the Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources. These additions will help the Senate garner the 60 votes that it needs to guarantee passage.

 “This is one of those rare and important bills. We are very close, and we need whatever help we can get,” Sen. Portman said. “We—Republicans and Democrats alike—could use this success.”

Alliance Policy and Research Associate Hannah Robinson contributed to this post.