GOP looks for path forward on energy bill amendments

Source: By Devin Henry, The Hill • Posted: Tuesday, February 2, 2016

Senators have filed nearly 200 amendments to the energy policy rewrite bill currently being considered on the Senate floor, and GOP leaders say they are “redoubling” their efforts to work through the list this week.

Lawmakers approved 11 amendments to the bill last week, and  Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska), a bill cosponsor and the chair of the Energy and Natural Resources Committee, said Monday that members should expect many other amendments to hit the floor this week.

“Eleven is a good number, but honestly I had hoped that we would have been able to process more amendments last week,” she said in a floor speech. “I want to move forward and process even more over these next couple days.”

Senators last week accepted amendments related to nuclear energy research, funding for advanced energy and a report on crude oil exports, among other things.

Many of the amendments brought to the floor last week won broad bipartisan support, but there are high-profile and potentially contentious measures still in the hopper.

A group of Democrats, led by Michigan’s senators, hopes to attach a $600 million aid package for Flint, Mich. to the bill. California’s two senators last week introduced an amendment calling for a formal federal response to a methane leak at a natural gas storage facility in the state. Others have introduced partisan amendments that could potentially divide the chamber.

Murkowski said she and her staff — and that of Sen. Maria Cantwell (D-Wash.), the ranking member of the energy panel and a bill co-sponsor — are working through the amendment backlog to figure out which will get votes this week.