Bryan Howard

After two weeks of deliberation, the Senate couldn’t advance this important bipartisan bill.

The Senate spent the first two weeks of September trying to pass bipartisan energy efficiency legislation, commonly known as Shaheen-Portman (S. 1392). Unfortunately, due to partisan bickering, including a rogue amendment on healthcare, the bill never got far on the floor of the Senate and has been postponed indefinitely. The Senate is now grappling with the more urgent issue of keeping the government funded into the next fiscal year. 

While the energy efficiency bill, sponsored by Sens. Jeanne Shaheen (D-N.H.) and Rob Portman (R-Ohio), enjoyed strong bipartisan support, Senate leaders were also unable to find a way to handle proposed controversial amendments, such as a decision on the Keystone XL pipeline and others targeting U.S. Environmental Protection Agency rules on climate change. The postponement of Shaheen-Portman raises questions about whether Senate leadership will reconsider the measure in the coming months, especially with other important upcoming legislative items looming in the queue, including the reauthorization of defense, agricultural programs and extension of the debt ceiling.

USGBC has been a vocal supporter of Shaheen-Portman, along with a large, diverse group of businesses and organizations. We will continue to work with legislators and other stakeholders to ensure that the bill gets proper consideration by the Senate, and we will support amendments that help advance green building. We owe a big thanks to the USGBC chapter community and member organizations that have worked to educate elected officials about the benefits of Shaheen-Portman. With everyone's continued efforts, there is still a chance of advancing energy efficiency solutions in this Congress.