Another Missed Opportunity for America as U.S. Senate Dysfunction Takes Center Court
A STATEMENT FROM ALLIANCE PRESIDENT KATERI CALLAHAN
Today, the men and women of the U.S. Senate once again put politics in front of American families and businesses, leaving on the table billions of dollars of savings on energy bills. Notwithstanding strong bi-partisan support and no expressed opposition to its contents, the Senate couldn't muster the 60 votes necessary to simply end debate and pass the Energy Savings and Industrial Competitiveness Act (S. 2262), better known as the Shaheen-Portman energy efficiency bill.
Shamefully, today marks not the first but the second time that the Senate has allowed partisanship to stand in the way of the Shaheen-Portman bill -- a bill that a majority of Members on both sides of the aisle support, and which enjoys the widespread support of hundreds of businesses, NGOs and trade associations across the country.
Ironically, today also marks the three-year anniversary of the bill sponsors' press conference to announce the introduction of S. 2262. Over these past three years, Senators Shaheen (D-NH) and Portman (R-OH) have worked tirelessly to build constituent and bi-partisan support for this bill. Their efforts stand as a shining example of how the two political parties can and should come together to work for the interests of the country. Because of the work Shaheen and Portman have done to create attract a strong bi-partisan group of Senate supporters, the bill has been improved and now offers over $16 billion in energy savings and nearly 200,000 new jobs for the economy when fully implemented. But, today rather than seeing these herculean efforts rewarded with passage of the bill, the Senate put on display yet another example of its current state of dysfunction.
The Alliance will continue to soldier on, along with Senators Shaheen and Portman and the countless other supporters of S. 2262 because enactment of meaningful, national legislation that helps to achieve our goal of doubling national energy productivity by 2030 is simply too important for any of us quit now. So, our sights now are focused on the House of Representatives, which has already passed an energy efficiency bill, H.R 2126, with an overwhelming bi-partisan vote of 375-36. And, the House appears to be gearing up to consider several more pieces of energy efficiency legislation this summer. Hopefully, the Senate can begin to function once again on behalf of the American people and we will see the Shaheen-Portman bill brought back to the Senate floor for a vote on final passage before the year closes.