A bipartisan energy efficiency bill sponsored by Republican Ohio Sen. Rob Portman is going nowhere this year.The Shaheen-Portman bill sets targets and establishes programs to boost energy efficiency for government and commercial buildings, and manufacturers. It has bipartisan support and was considered a major piece of energy legislation that had a chance.
But before it got to a Senate vote, the bill attracted 100 amendments – 25 of which, including a repeal of Obamacare—had nothing to do with energy or efficiency. Democrats refused to consider it. Portman says Democrats and Republicans share the blame – though not equally.
“I’m frustrated. I’ve spent 2 ½ years working on this. It’s a good bill, it’s a bill that actually helps on jobs, helps on the trade deficit, it helps on saving taxpayer money and it helps on the environment," says Portman. "So it’s kind of one of those bills that should pass; the House wants to take it up, the president’s secretary of energy says he’s supportive of it, so it’s one that should get done next year if we are able to bring it to the floor.”
Portman says Democrats could have handled most of the unrelated amendments by setting a limited time for their debate. And he says many of them have now been directed toward other bills.