March 27th, 2015 | The Hill | Jordain Carney
In the wee hours of this morning, two senators appeared on the Senate floor for something called a voice vote, a procedure in which those present say “yea” or “nay,” but the names of the voting lawmakers are not recorded. According to The Hill, this is how Sen. Jeanne Shaheen (D- NH) and Sen. Rob Portman (R-OH) finally got a mini version of their energy efficiency bill passed in the Senate.
The Energy Efficiency Improvement Act, aims to improve energy efficiency in buildings through voluntary actions by building owners and tenants. It also requires federally leased buildings without Energy Star labels, the government-backed stamp of energy efficiency approval, to disclose their energy usage. The legislation exempts certain electric water heaters.
As Inside Energy’s Jordan Wirfs-Brock reported, Senators Shaheen and Portman have been trying to push energy efficiency legislation through the Senate for years. Despite broad bipartisan support, the bill’s many versions have been bogged down in political fights. For example, last year Republicans filibustered a version of the bill because then-Senate Majority leader Harry Reid refused to allow several amendments, including one to approve the Keystone XL pipeline.
The bill passed by the Senate today now needs approval from the House of Representatives.