The Energy Savings and Industrial Competitiveness Act, otherwise known as Shaheen-Portman after the two U.S. Senators behind the proposed legislation, has been waylaid in the Senate after a vote fell five votes short of ending debate on the bill and advancing it to a final vote. The bipartisan bill, reintroduced in Congress by Sen. Jeanne Shaheen (D-N.H.) and Rob Portman (R-OH) in February, aims to spur on the adoption of energy efficiency technologies, foster job creation, and reduce emissions. After failing to proceed in Congress following introductions in 2011 and 2013, the bill this time became derailed from moving forward by political wrangling and debate over the Keystone XL pipeline and proposed EPA regulations on power plants.
The latest version of the bill raised debate within the building and design community when it was introduced in February, as while it offers many energy efficiency incentives such as the SAVE Act and Energy Star-like programs for tenants and suppliers, it also includes an amendment that would have the federal government repeal its 2030 fossil fuel reduction targets for new and renovated federal buildings.
The bill needed 60 votes to proceed to a final vote, but fell short on Monday with just 55 votes. However, could it be revived? Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) voted "no" in order to preserve his right to bring the bill back to the Senate floor in the future.
In response to the failure on Monday, Sen. Portman issued the following statement:
“Today’s failure to move forward on a bipartisan energy efficiency bill is yet another disappointing example of Washington’s dysfunction. It’s a sad day in the U.S. Senate when more than 270 organizations—from business to environmental groups—can get behind a good, bipartisan effort, but we can’t get votes on a few amendments to pass it.
I will continue to work with Democrats and Republicans alike to try to find a way forward on this important element of a needed national, all-of-the-above energy strategy.”