Sen. Rob Portman's legislation to encourage better use of energy resources by industry passed the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee last week.
The Energy Savings and Industrial Competitiveness Act of 2013 could go before the full Senate as early as this week, according to Portman, R-Ohio. He co-authored the measure with Sen. Jeanne Shaheen, D-N.H.
The bill seeks to encourage energy efficiency and job growth by strengthening national model building codes; creating a Commercial Building Energy Efficiency Financing Initiative to encourage private investment in building efficiency upgrades; allowing federal agencies to take advantage of existing funding to use the most current building efficiency standards for new federal buildings; and creating incentives for manufacturers to save energy by using more efficient electric motors and transformers.
Rep. David B. McKinley, R-W.Va., has proposed similar legislation in the House.
Portman said the committee's approval gives the measure momentum to go to the Senate floor, be passed by the full Senate, "and then hopefully passed by the House and signed by the president."
"This gives us a pathway to getting significant energy legislation done in the U.S. Congress," he said. "There hasn't been a major energy bill in Congress since 2007, so this would be a break through."
Portman believes the measure would help employers to make their plants more energy efficient, and that the revenue saved could lead them to hire more employees.
It's not clear when the bill will go to the floor, but Portman said the bill could be considered as soon as this week.
"That's record speed for this place," he said.