GOP Tries To Sink Uncontroversial Energy Bill With An Obamacare Amendment

CREDIT: Shutterstock

energy efficiency

CREDIT: Shutterstock

An energy efficiency bill in the Senate would be the first major energy legislation passed since 2007, but a couple Republican amendments threaten to sink the long-awaited bipartisan bill. Sponsored by Senators Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH) and Rob Portman (R-OH), the “Energy Savings and Industrial Competitiveness Act” would issue modest national efficiency standards that provides big gains to businesses and consumers alike, in part through stronger building codes for commercial and residential sectors.

But on Wednesday, Sen. John Hoeven (R-ND) proposed an amendment to build the Keystone XL pipeline and ship Canadian tar sands oil across the U.S.
Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) and Sen. David Vitter (R-LA) have submitted their own amendments that dismantle Obamacare, which threatens to block additional amendments and it reaching a vote.

Heritage, for its part, has urged the Senate to vote against energy efficiency, citing that “it is based on the idea that businesses and families will act irrationally unless the government intervenes.” As the New Republic points out, the country has already proven the bill necessary, based on the U.S.’s place as the 9th country out of 12 on energy efficiency.

By improving efficiency standards, Shaheen-Portman would cut a massive amount of pollution that’s the equivalent of taking 22 million cars off the road while generating tens of thousands of jobs and billions of dollars in savings. It passed a Senate committee this spring 19-3, gaining seven Republican votes.

When they take aim at improving efficiency, many amendments are relatively harmless. Sen. Tom Coburn (R-OK), for instance, wants to require federal employees to turn off building lights when they leave the office.