Campaign Politics Derail Energy Legislation

Gita Subramony for Zondits, May 23, 2014

A few months ago, the Shaheen-Portman Act on energy efficiency gave us all hope that our legislators could actually work together and pass legislation that would slightly reduce GHG emissions and create jobs. The bi-partisan bill looked promising until it was torpedoed by Senate Republicans. In fact, the filibuster that killed the bill was encouraged by someone who is not even in office right now. Remember Scott Brown, former Senator from Massachusetts who lost to Elizabeth Warren? He is now seeking a Senate seat in New Hampshire and is hoping to replace Senator Jeanne Shaheen of the aforementioned energy bill. His campaign tactics include urging his party to kill the Shaheen-Portman Act to deny her this accomplishment and prevent her from taking credit for creating the jobs that the bill promised. This is yet another example of campaign politics derailing legislation and creating dysfunction in our government.


Midterm campaigning gets in the way of energy policy

CBS News, May 16, 2014

After months of behind-the-scenes work, a bipartisan group of senators managed to produce an energy efficiency bill with strong bipartisan support. The legislation by no means represented an all-encompassing energy policy, but it showed that Democrats and Republicans could still work together to get things done. Then on Monday, the bill was killed — by a filibuster reportedly spurred on by a Republican not even in office.

Even though the Energy Savings and Industrial Competitiveness Act, sponsored by Sen. Rob Portman, R-Ohio, and Sen. Jeanne Shaheen, D-N.H., had seven GOP co-sponsors including Portman, all but three Republicans voted to filibuster it. The Huffington Post reports that Scott Brown, the former Republican Massachusetts senator now seeking to unseat Shaheen in New Hampshire, urged his party to sink the bill in order to deny Shaheen that legislative accomplishment.

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