Senate Quietly Passes Energy Efficiency Bill With One Vote At 4 AM

REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque

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Michael Bastasch DCNF Managing Editor
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Sens. Rob Portman and Jeanne Shaheen waited until the wee hours of the morning to pass bipartisan energy efficiency legislation that has been stalled for months in Congress.

After a late night of amendment votes, Portman and Shaheen were able to pass their bill by a voice vote around 4 AM Friday morning. What was odd was that only one voice could be heard voting in favor of the bill, according to Politico

At about 4:10 AM, Portman and Shaheen “took positions at the podiums designated for their respective party leaders and then Portman called up [the efficiency bill],” reports Politico. Once the bill’s title was read it was put up to a voice vote and was passed on “the Ohio Republican’s singular ‘aye.’”

Politico also notes that after it was decreed that “the measure has passed,” Sen. Shaheen was heard over her microphone saying “yes.”

After the passage of the bill, Portman put out a press statement saying the measure “garnered such widespread support.” Shaheen echoed this sentiment saying the bill “such strong bipartisan support.”

The bill is designed to boost the energy efficiency of buildings by providing incentives for companies to install energy-saving technologies. The bill would also exempt electric resistance water heaters from such requirements and orders federal agencies to collaborate on efficiency strategies. The bill, however, is only a “mini” version of the bill Portman and Shaheen tried to push last year.

“It’s part of an energy plan for America that can help bring the jobs back, help fix our trade deficit, help make our manufacturers more competitive, and actually help to protect the environment,” said Portman, an Ohio Republican, after the voice vote. “I’m pleased that these key portions of our energy efficiency bill passed the Senate today.”

The efficiency bill passed Friday contains provisions passed by the House last Congress. The more controversial portions of the Portman-Shaheen bill were left out of the “vote” Friday morning.

“Today we passed a bill that will create jobs, save consumers money, and reduce pollution in a smart, effective and affordable way,” echoed Shaheen, a New Hampshire Democrat. “Energy efficiency holds enormous potential for America’s energy future and the Senate has taken an important step toward realizing that future.”

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