ENERGY EFFICIENCY:

U.S. Chamber calls for passage of bipartisan bill

Published: Friday, April 27, 2012

The nation's top business lobby is throwing its support behind a stalled bipartisan efficiency bill that may be one of the only pieces of energy legislation capable of passing Congress this year.

In a letter yesterday, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce called on Senate leaders to quickly take up and pass the bill, S. 1000 from Sens. Jeanne Shaheen (D-N.H.) and Rob Portman (R-Ohio), which would update building codes and create a variety of efficiency incentives such as a new revolving loan fund.

"High energy prices are once again a priority issue for American voters. The Senate has spent much of the year pointing fingers and assigning blame. All the while, it has had in its lap a bill that enjoys strong bipartisan support and that would make a material difference in consumers' energy costs," wrote R. Bruce Josten, the chamber's executive vice president for government affairs. "Yet that bill, S. 1000, continues to sit on the sidelines."

The chamber's letter to Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) and Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) follows a similar call for action from the two sponsors last week (E&ENews PM, April 19).

The bill passed the Energy and Natural Resources Committee on an 18-3 vote in September but has not been considered on the floor. A similar bipartisan efficiency measure is awaiting action in the House,H.R. 4017, sponsored by Reps. Charles Bass (R-N.H.) and Jim Matheson (D-Utah).

"S. 1000 may be one of the few energy bills that can garner enough support for passage in the 112th Senate," Joston wrote. "The business community strongly supports this bill. The Chamber urges you to find a way to bring S. 1000 to the Senate floor for a vote."