Upton expects House negotiators to be named next week

Source: George Cahlink, E&E reporter • Posted: Friday, May 20, 2016

The House is likely next week to name its negotiators for a formal conference with the Senate on competing energy bills, offering some hope that a compromise might be in reach on the complex legislation.

House Energy and Commerce Chairman Fred Upton (R-Mich.) said today that he expects the chamber to formally name the conferees before leaving for Memorial Day recess at the end of next week. He said that would then put the onus on the Senate to appoint its conferees.

The House passed its more narrowly drawn energy bill (H.R. 8) in December, and Energy and Commerce leaders called for a quick conference after the Senate approved a far broader version (S. 2012) this spring. Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee leaders have been more cautious, saying they would welcome a conference but want to have informal discussions first to lay the groundwork for a deal.

While the competing bills broadly address the same areas — including improving infrastructure, speeding natural gas exports, and boosting efficiency and renewables — there are significant differences.

Those include a Senate push to permanently reauthorize the Land and Water Conservation Fund, disagreements over the efficiency provisions and differences over proposed funding levels.