United States Congress

The ongoing crisis is Syria has been the main focus in Congress these past few weeks. However, since a resolution is in the works, other developments have been making its way towards legislation. A new bill that has bipartisan support is making its way through the Senate. The Energy Savings and Industrial Competitiveness Act is a new environmental bill that would bring new measures together to improve energy efficiency. It was put together by Senators Jeanne Shaheen (D-N.H.) and Rob Portman (R-Ohio), who are working to get it passed.

So far the bill has gotten support from various environmental and business groups. A few of them include the Sierra Club, National Association of Manufacturers, and the Alliance to Save Energy. A study by the ACEEE (American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy) estimated that the legislation could create 174,000 new jobs and save households and businesses billions of dollars by 2030. Some of the provisions would expand the country’s energy policies and programs by cutting carbon emissions, reducing energy waste in industries and government, and enhance development and research of energy efficient technology.

There are other environmental bills currently being reviewed by Congress; this one looks like it has promise. It marks the first major piece of environmental legislation on the floor in 6 years. It has made progress so far, but of course, there is resistance ahead. The bill has been stalled, with politicians demanding a vote on an Obamacare amendment first. Despite the delays, this has been the norm for new initiatives regarding improving energy standards. Both Shaheen and Portman worked hard on their legislation and are now facing the obstacles to get it passed.

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Yet it is a positive development to hear new environmental legislation is being considered in Congress. Other issues took up so much time and focus energy and climate issues were put on the back burner. This bill gives the country new standards and supports new innovations, which is what we need. It aims to train workers for clean-energy jobs and make factories more energy efficient. The only actual mandate in the bill is a requirement to reduce the amount of energy used in computers. Shaheen and Portman have faith that their bill will pass. It has made it to the floor, where it will be voted on in the coming weeks.

It is also refreshing in a divided Congress to see a piece of legislation getting bipartisan support. With leaders polarized on the course of action to take on certain issues, this bill is quietly making headway. Backed by the White House and with Senator Harry Reid’s support, there are intentions to move it ahead. Unlike previous bills, this one is only 30 pages long and it is backed by many companies. Despite concerns, supporters are keeping their fingers crossed in hopes that this legislation will move forward once again. It was stalled and now it appears that some course of action will be taken. In this difficult economy, this bill would not only help the environment, but create jobs, which is what we need right now.

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