The House of Representatives on Tuesday night passed a bipartisan Continuing Resolution (CR) by a vote of 359-57 to extend federal government funding through December 11 and avoid a government shutdown at the end of the month. (Text of H.R. 8337 and Section-by-section summary of the legislation)
- The CR includes short-term funding extensions (with no policy changes) for surface transportation funding, the National Flood Insurance Program, and the EB-5 Regional Center Program.
- The Senate is expected to pass the CR next week and send it to President Trump for his signature before FY’2021 starts on October 1, 2020.
Energy Package Passes
- The House yesterday also passed a comprehensive energy package (H.R.4447) that includes sections on building energy codes, federal energy data regarding commercial buildings, and grant programs for underserved communities and green infrastructure. The measure passed with mostly Democratic support by a 220-185 vote. (CQ, Sept. 24)
- One of the major goals of the legislative package is to reduce carbon dioxide emissions by 80% by 2050. (BGov, Sept. 16)
- The Clean Economy and Jobs Innovation Act includes a section – strongly supported by The Roundtable – that would require the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) to report to Congress through a “coordination agreement” regarding each agency’s separate collection of data regarding commercial building energy consumption.
- Coordination between the agencies is critical because the EIA’s Commercial Buildings Energy Consumption Survey (CBECS) provides data that underpins EPA’s ENERGY STAR building scores, which impact nearly 35,000 buildings nationwide, representing more than 5 billion square feet of commercial space. (ENERGY STAR Facts and Stats)
- The House bill also includes Roundtable-backed provisions that would bring greater transparency to how the U.S. Department of Energy provides federal recommendations to develop building energy codes, which state and local governments may ultimately adopt through a long-established process. (Roundtable Weekly, June 19, 2019)
- The White House on Sept. 21 stated its opposition to H.R. 4447. Among the reasons for its veto threat, the Administration believes that the bill sets “rigid targets” on Federal buildings to reduce water and energy consumption, and is concerned that State and local governments might establish building codes “not grounded in available technologies.”
- In the Senate, Energy Committee Chair Lisa Murkowski (R-AL) hopes to reintroduce bipartisan energy legislation (S. 2657) next week. Sen. Joe Manchin (D-WV), the Senate Energy Committee’s ranking member and co-sponsor of S. 2657, said they are working through issues to overcome an impasse on the building energy codes section. (BGov, Sept. 24)
If the Senate passes its bill, a “conference” would be convened – perhaps during the Lame Duck Congressional session after Election Day – for House and Senate committee leaders to reconcile any differences between their respective packages.
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