House panel advances clean energy bill

Greg Foy/Getty Images (CNN) – The US House of Representatives moved closer to approving a sweeping bill designed to promote the development of clean energy. The energy package cleared out of committee on Thursday…

House panel advances clean energy bill

Greg Foy/Getty Images

(CNN) – The US House of Representatives moved closer to approving a sweeping bill designed to promote the development of clean energy.

The energy package cleared out of committee on Thursday evening, but the measure will be voted on by the full House under special rules aimed at preventing Democrats from derailing the bill.

If the package passes the House and reaches President Donald Trump’s desk, it would mark the second major piece of legislation proposed by Democrats on energy policy in the past week. A day earlier, the House also passed a measure proposed by Democrats on climate change that would ramp up regulation and subsidies for wind and solar projects, among other measures.

The energy package would establish energy efficiency standards for heating and cooling of public buildings and furnaces, set a national biofuels mandate, set standards for electric vehicle charging and various clean energy taxes and royalties for fossil fuel extraction, among other proposals.

Democrats believe the measures would lay the groundwork for future legislation on climate change and other issues.

Despite the package’s bipartisan support and bipartisan passage out of the Energy and Commerce Committee, it still faces an uphill battle in the full House.

Democrats on the Energy and Commerce Committee have previously vowed to shut down the rulemaking process on the energy package and use procedural hurdles to delay it. Democratic leaders in the House are scheduled to hold a vote on party lines Wednesday afternoon on a procedural move to block the package’s passage under a rule that requires three-fifths of the chamber to approve.

If the package does manage to pass the House under the rules, it still faces an uphill battle in the Senate. And Senate Republicans had a provision within the package that would impact coal jobs, another area where Democrats have expressed optimism that they can peel off a few Republicans to support the package.

The issue of clean energy, and specifically the environmental benefits that the power produced by wind and solar have, has long been key to the Democratic Party’s base. Over the past week, Democrats had secured significant bipartisan support for environmental legislation and launched their new Democratic House majority on a vow to confront Trump on issues like climate change.

By moving forward with a social and climate agenda quickly, the new House may signal to conservatives that House Democrats will act to advance their agenda despite the likelihood that Senate Republicans will simply kill the package in the upper chamber.

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