WASHINGTON -- A bipartisan energy efficiency bill that got sidetracked last fall in the Senate is expected to come into play again next week.
Sens. Jeanne Shaheen (D-N.H.) and Rob Portman (R-Ohio) introduced the Energy Savings and Industrial Competitiveness Act last year. It went up for debate on the Senate floor in September, but got derailed when Sen. David Vitter (R-La.) attempted to use the bill to force a vote on delaying Obamacare.
Vitter said that he had "nothing against this bill and the provisions of it." But the fiasco succeeded in keeping the energy efficiency legislation from ever getting a vote. A few weeks later, the fight over Obamacare managed to shut down the federal government for 16 days.
Now Shaheen and Portman are planning to bring the bill back. A spokeswoman for Shaheen confirmed to The Huffington Post that the bill is expected to come up at some point next week, but could not offer an exact date. Other sources suggested that Wednesday is the day they expect it to be reintroduced.
The bill brings together a number of energy-efficiency measures, including improvements to building codes, funding for research and development of new technologies and incentives for the use of more efficient products. It would also push the federal government to improve its efficiency for buildings and appliances.
The bill has support from across the political spectrum, including right-leaning groups like the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and the National Association of Manufacturers and progressive groups like the Alliance to Save Energy and the Sierra Club. It is expected to pass the Senate -- that is, if it can ever get a vote.
UPDATE: Sierra Club lobbyist Radha Adhar clarified that while his group supported the legislation as it was introduced last year, it is waiting to see if there are any substantial changes to the bill when it is reintroduced to decide whether Sierra will back it again.
"We believe that S.1392 is a good bill that offers commonsense solutions to save energy and are grateful to Senator Shaheen for laboring across party lines," said Adhar. "Unfortunately, some in Congress have held up progress by demanding poison pill amendments that would overwhelm the benefits of S.1392. We do not support bringing the bill to the floor without an agreement on amendments. We understand that Senator Shaheen will soon introduce a new version of S.1392. We have not yet seen this version, and would need to evaluate it before recommitting our support."