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Friday, November 8, 2013

S. 1392, Shaheen-Portman Bill: Energy Savings and Industrial Competitiveness Act of 2013

Fred Sissine
Specialist in Energy Policy

S. 1392—the Energy Savings and Industrial Competitiveness Act of 2013—was introduced on July 30, 2013. Often referred to as the Shaheen-Portman bill, it is a trimmed-down version of S. 761. It contains provisions for building energy codes, industrial energy efficiency, federal agencies, and budget offsets. The bill contains voluntary provisions and was designed to be deficit-neutral. To date, virtually all debate related to the bill has been focused on floor amendments.

The bill was reported by the Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources (SENR) on a 19-3 vote. On August 1, 2013, a motion to proceed was introduced and amendments began to be filed. On September 11, 2013, a unanimous consent agreement on the motion launched floor action. By September 19, 2013, 125 amendments had been proposed. Of that total, 75 directly address energy efficiency policy, 23 address “other” energy and carbon emissions policy areas, and 27 address non-energy policy areas.

Amendments subject to controversy address five policy areas: fossil fuel use by federal buildings, carbon emissions regulation, regional haze regulation, Keystone XL Pipeline, and the Affordable Care Act (ACA, P.L. 111-148 as amended). Only the Keystone XL Pipeline and one ACA amendment have been the subject of major floor debate on S. 1392.

S.Amdt. 1908 on the Keystone XL Pipeline calls for a Sense of Congress resolution that encourages the President to issue a permit needed to begin construction. In floor debate, proponents argued that the project would create thousands of jobs; generate tax revenues for federal, state, and local governments; reduce dependence on oil imports from Venezuela; and gain an “environmental advantage” from using high-tech refineries on the Gulf Coast. Opponents contend that there would be less than 100 permanent jobs, most of the oil would be exported, and there is a “tangible risk” of a spill that could have severe environmental impacts.

S.Amdt. 1866 would amend Section 1312(d)(3)(D) of ACA and would affect how Members of Congress, congressional staff, the President, the Vice President, and many executive branch political appointees can obtain health insurance coverage through their federal employment.

The sponsor of S.Amdt. 1866 requested a vote on this amendment and objected to further consideration of other amendments, which blocked voting on all other amendments. Shortly after  floor debate began, the sponsor introduced a stand-alone bill (S. 1497) with similar content and  expressed a willingness to drop the objection, if a vote could be “locked down” for S.Amdt. 1866—or if a vote on the proposal (S. 1497) could be guaranteed for any other active legislation.

Despite a tentative agreement to take votes on S.Amdt. 1908 and S.Amdt. 1866, supporters of  non-energy amendments increased their requests to include four additional non-energy amendments. The resulting impasse led to a suspension of action on September 18, 2013, with no  fixed date to resume action. The Senate then focused attention on passing a continuing appropriations resolution (CR) and addressing the federal debt ceiling. Floor managers have indicated that—once the CR, shutdown, health care, and debt limit issues are resolved—they hope to resume action on S. 1392.

Date of Report: October 25, 2013
Number of Pages: 36
Order Number: R43259
Price: $29.95

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