Efficiency bill, tax extenders on tap when Senate returns — Reid

Source: Nick Juliano, E&E reporter • Posted: Monday, April 14, 2014

The Senate plans to take up a long-stalled energy efficiency bill and legislation to extend dozens of business tax breaks when it returns from recess in two weeks, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) said today.
Reid also announced that former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton will deliver the keynote address at the seventh annual clean energy summit he hosts along with the Center for American Progress and others. The event is scheduled for Sept. 4 in Las Vegas.Among the first orders of business when senators return April 28 will be the efficiency bill sponsored by Sens. Jeanne Shaheen (D-N.H.) and Rob Portman (R-Ohio), which the pair reintroduced in February with a new mix of provisions designed to attract sufficient Republican support to clear procedural hurdles (E&E Daily, Feb. 28).The bill stumbled when it hit the floor last September amid disagreements over how many amendments could be offered and what subjects would be considered, as Republicans pushed for votes related to the president’s health care reforms, climate change rules and other extraneous matters.Reid said he would “try to bring that up fairly early” once the Senate returns and that he was confident it would no longer run aground because of excessive amendment demands.

“I have everyone’s word that won’t be the case this time,” he told reporters on a conference call today.

A spokesman for Sen. Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.), Don Stewart, said in an email the minority leader had not signed off on any agreement. He would not rule out demands for any particular amendments while also declining to detail what Republicans would ask for.

Also on tap for the next work period, which goes until Memorial Day weekend, is the “tax extenders” bill that was voted out of the Finance Committee last week. The bill includes a two-year extension of the production tax credit, which primarily supports wind electricity; a suite of biofuels tax credits; and several incentives designed to make homes and commercial buildings more energy efficient (Greenwire, April 3).

Reid said he had discussed the bill with Finance Chairman Ron Wyden (D-Ore.) this week and was optimistic the Senate would be able to get it done.