The View From Here
by Ric Jackson
September 24th, 2019

Energy Legislation Watch: Two Bills Making Progress

With budget cuts and trade tariffs taking center stage lately, I couldn’t remember the last time I was able to report on energy legislation reaching the floor of the House or Senate. Looking back, it was early in 2017 when I gave my last federal legislation watch list. Today, I am finally able to report some movement on Capitol Hill.

I once referred to the Portman-Shaheen legislation as the “bill that has nine lives,” and we’re now learning that all those lives have yet to be spent. Last week, the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Subcommittee on Energy held a hearing on S. 2137, the Energy Savings and Industrial Competitiveness Act that was introduced by Sens. Rob Portman (R-OH) and Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH).

Indeed, this bill has had a storied past with ups, downs and attachments from other more controversial pieces of legislation. But it seems there is new hope. The recent hearing included testimony from both the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) and the Federal Energy Regulatory Committee; the details of the bill continue to be under review by the DOE and it has not taken a formal position on the bill’s merits.

But according to the Window and Door Manufacturers Association (WDMA), there’s a key piece missing from the latest bill: the “Schrader-Flores” language that was introduced by Reps. Kurt Schrader (D-OR) and Bill Flores (R-TX) as part of the House bill H.R. 3586 that, in part, clarifies the DOE’s role in building code development. Passing of this language is considered a top priority for the WDMA.

The View from Here

The Portman-Shaheen bill is still under review and the Schrader-Flores bill is currently with the House Energy and Commerce Committee. The View from Here is that it’s refreshing to see these bills at least seeing the light of day. Both have good bipartisan support and could mark a turning point on energy legislation.

What’s your View? Email me directly at eric.jackson@quanex.com.

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