In August, members of Congress will head back to their home districts for a shortened August recess, return to Capitol Hill briefly in September, then head back out to the campaign trail.
With the Congressional agenda already building for a jam-packed lame duck session after the November elections, there is still time for both Houses of Congress to address long-sought energy measures favored by the industry and slated to stimulate construction activity.
This year, SMACNA won several legislative victories that were significant for industry contractors such as tax incentive measures and combined heat and power initiatives—but more top-priority legislation remains unfinished for the rest of the summer and the upcoming lame duck session.
Votes on comprehensive national energy efficiency policy are expected in Congress soon. After nearly a decade battling gridlock, SMACNA continues working to pass a major energy package in both the House and Senate that contains residential, commercial, industrial, and public energy efficiency provisions to stimulate construction activity.
Energy legislation expected to be addressed during the late summer and fall includes:
“The Energy Savings and Industrial Competitiveness Act” (S. 385 / H.R. 1443), which passed from the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee and awaits Senate passage. House passage is probable during this Congress. The legislation represents significant advances long-supported by SMACNA and energy efficiency leaders.
SMACNA is also advocating for “The Energy Savings Through Public-Private Partnerships Act” (H.R. 723). Under the performance contract financing system, private sector service companies finance and install new energy and water efficient equipment at minimal or no upfront cost to the federal government. Federal agencies repay this investment over time with funds saved on utility costs. Sponsored by Rep. Adam Kinzinger (R-16th-Ill.) and co-sponsored by Rep. Peter Welch (D-At Large-Vt.), the bill passed from Committee and awaits a House floor vote later this summer.
An additional promising bill awaiting floor votes “The Master Limited Partnership Parity Act” (H.R. 4118), is bipartisan legislation that would greatly expand financing options for energy saving performance contracting (ESPC), building retrofits, industrial market efficiency projects, and combined heat and power/waste heat to power (CHP/WHP) systems. This House bill, which has more than a dozen bipartisan co-sponsors, was introduced by Reps. Ted Poe (R-2nd-Texas) and Mike Thompson (D-5th-Calif.) with key bipartisan co-sponsors. This legislation also has an identical bill in the Senate (S. 2005), introduced by Sens. Chris Coons (D-Del.) and Jerry Moran (R-Kan.).
SMACNA members can support this comprehensive energy efficiency legislation by contacting their members of Congress now through SMACNA’s Take Action web page, www.smacna.org/advocacy/take-action.