House, Senate Head Down to the Wire on Energy Bill

The next 24 to 48 hours will likely make or break a high-profile energy legislation package this Congress. And House Republicans still aren’t signaling a willingness to sign off.

Senate interest in polishing off negotiations, however, continues unabated, led by Senators Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska) and Maria Cantwell (D-Wash.). They believe a compromise is still in reach after weeks of see-sawing proposals.

House Democrats echoed that optimism in comments to Bloomberg BNA late Dec. 5. “We’re still working on it,” said key negotiator, House Energy and Commerce Committee Ranking Member Frank Pallone (D-N.J.). Rep. Raul Grijalva (D-Ariz.) said a deal could be reached as late as Dec. 8.

The bill (S. 2012), which has passed both the House and Senate as different versions, could expedite natural gas export review processes, improve electric grid security and boost energy efficiency of commercial buildings, homes and schools. That’ll all be headed for the dust bin of the 114th Congress if the House and Senate fail to strike a compromise.

Lawmakers are aiming to leave town Dec. 9, in which case they won’t return until January.