- The Washington Times - Friday, March 27, 2015

After the Senate gave approval to its budget plan early Friday morning, Sens. Rob Portman, Ohio Republican, and Jeanne Shaheen, New Hampshire Democrat, got a version of their energy efficiency legislation passed by voice vote.

The measure, passed when only Mr. Portman and Ms. Shaheen were on the floor, includes provisions exempting certain water heaters from pending Department of Energy regulations, and requires federal agencies to develop an implementation strategy for employing more energy-efficient technology, among other items.

Mr. Portman said the bill has garnered widespread support and is part of an energy plan for the country “that can help bring the jobs back, help fix our trade deficit, help make our manufacturers more competitive, and actually help to protect the environment.”

Republicans, fed up with the tactics of then-Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, Nevada Democrat, filibustered similar legislation from Mr. Portman and Ms. Shaheen last year.

The GOP said they wanted to pick a handful of energy-related amendments on that bill, but Mr. Reid, who lost his majority after the 2014 midterm elections, said Republicans were breaking an agreement and he had planned to hold a standalone vote later on a bill to construct the Keystone XL Pipeline.

Mr. Reid, who as majority leader became known for tightly controlling floor proceedings and the extent to which amendments could be offered on pieces of legislation, announced Friday he would not be running for re-election in 2016.

• David Sherfinski can be reached at dsherfinski@washingtontimes.com.

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