Proposed energy bill dies in the Senate

The Energy Savings and Industrial Competitiveness Act – also known as Shaheen-Portman – was first introduced in the Senate by Democrat Jeanne Shaheen of New Hampshire and Republican Rob Portman of Ohio back in 2013, but was quickly derailed after the partisan fighting that followed the rollout of the Affordable Care Act and led to the federal government shutdown. Yesterday, a new draft of the bill was brought up for a procedural vote, needing 60 senators' approval to move forward to a final vote.

Despite having a broad bipartisan backing, the Shaheen-Portman bill failed to reach the 60 votes necessary to end its debate, with only 55 for and 36 against. While it was once projected that this proposed legislation would pass through the Senate with relatively little opposition – and be blended with a similar bipartisan bill being worked on in the House – the bill was killed because of a disagreement over Republicans wanting to add several of their own environmentally-related amendments to it.

What the GOP wanted to do was include language that would force the approval of the Keystone XL Pipeline – something President Barack Obama has objected to since 2010 – as well as blocking any EPA regulations the president plans on creating without the consent of Congress. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) refused to allow the amendments to be included, resulting in the Republican party voting overwhelmingly against the Shaheen-Portman energy legislation.

"Today's failure to move forward on a bipartisan energy-efficiency bill is yet another disappointing example of Washington's dysfunction," Senator Portman said in a statement to the press.

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