Both chambers passed out dramatically different versions earlier in the year. Traditionally, an agreement would be hammered out in a conference committee, which is a panel of representatives from both the House and Senate. After a final draft is presented, the two chambers would then take a final vote.
But Pelosi has removed that option from the table. Instead, leaders from both parties will meet individually ' likely behind closed doors flanked by special interests ' to draft a compromise measure that will then be introduced as a normal bill to once again navigate the legislative process.
While previous incarnations of Congress' annual energy bill have contained pork projects for Louisiana or other perks, this year's Democratic model focuses on a variety of greener topics, such as renewable sources of electricity, ethanol mandates and fuel efficiency for vehicles.
Practically every member of the Louisiana congressional delegation voted against the bill, arguing the package throws up roadblocks to further domestic oil and gas exploration and production ' a lifeline to billions for the Bayou State.
Pelosi, a Democrat from California who leads the majority, called the legislation a "top priority" recently and argued a conference committee could not be called because Republicans in the Senate were blocking the effort. After countless hours of work that included 10 different committees and dozens of special interests from around the nation, the 2007 energy bill is in some ways going back to the drawing board.
The energy bill this time around is geared to promote energy efficiency and kill the nation's dependency on fossil fuels. The most significant provisions call for increasing fuel-efficiency standards for automobiles to an average of 35 miles per gallon by 2020. That's compared to 27.5 miles per gallon today. Another mechanism in the bill would require utilities to generate 15 percent of their electricity from renewable sources by 2020.
It's a drastic change from the energy bills Congress usually cranks out. In fact, there are no outrageous subsidies even identified for the coal, oil and nuclear industries. Rather, there are taxes and fees passed along to pay for many of the new programs. As such, the 2007 energy bill has supporters never thought possible.
"(The) energy bill also contains numerous other important provisions that will help us begin to fight global warming and end our dangerous dependence on fossil fuels," said Carl Pope, executive director of the Sierra Club, a national environmental group. "After years ' if not decades ' spent battling truly reprehensible energy legislation, it is extremely refreshing to be instead focused on just how many progressive policies can be added to an energy bill."
Louisiana's congressional delegation was not as cheerful. Rep. William Jefferson and Sen. Mary Landrieu, both of New Orleans, stayed the party line, though, supporting the Democratic bill. The surprise vote came from fellow Democrat Rep. Charlie Melancon of Napoleonville, who represents the massive district that stretches from Acadiana to Terrebonne-Lafourche. He went against the rank-and-file and joined his Louisiana colleagues in dismissing the bill.
Melancon said he is concerned about the harmful effects of greenhouse gases and global climate changes, and he supports efforts to reverse the trend. The 2007 energy package, however, does nothing to lower energy costs ' it will actually be an increase, Melancon argued.
"I believe we need an energy policy that puts our nation on the path toward being energy self-sufficient, so we are not at the mercy of foreign, sometimes unfriendly, countries like Venezuela and China," he said. "Raising taxes on American businesses will not make us more energy independent, and less domestic energy production means higher energy costs for Louisianians."
Rep. Bobby Jindal, a Kenner Republican, was the only delegation member to miss the vote. As a candidate for governor, Jindal has missed dozens of votes this year, which his office and campaign label as "regrettable" but unavoidable during an election season.
Others from the delegation opposing the energy bill include Republican Reps. Rodney Alexander, Richard Baker, Charles Boustany and James McCrery. GOP Sen. David Vitter was also a no vote.
The Board of Elementary and Secondary Education is considering whether to get involved in a lawsuit against Gov. Bobby Jindal for his attempts to undermine use of the Common Core education standards in Louisiana's public schools.
The latest meeting of a south Louisiana flood board that stirred political turmoil with a lawsuit against the oil and gas industry is taking place amid uncertainty over the future of the lawsuit — and the board's own membership.
The photos taken nearly a mile under the Gulf of Mexico are so clear that small holes are visible in a lifeboat that may have gone down or been scuttled when a passenger ship was sunk by a Nazi submarine in 1942.
Advocate columnist and Jindal shill Quin Hillyer has been against the New Orleans levee board lawsuit from day one, but a recent piece targeting author/activist John Barry prompted the perfect rebuttal from the board’s former vice-president, who takes Hillyer to task on just about every distorted claim he’s made on the issue.
Thursday's Blogs from the Bog!
Pat Bowlen steps down; typhoon caused Taiwan plane crash; Arizona execution botched and more national and international news for Thursday, July 24, 2014.
Thousands of people who bought health insurance through the marketplace created by the federal health care overhaul face price hikes next year that could top 10 percent.
Louisiana fell one spot in an annual national ranking of child well-being that looks at poverty, education and health access.
A federal judge has decided he doesn't need to hear more arguments in the case of a gay couple who want a Louisiana marriage license.
Saints again bring playoff aspirations into 2014 campaign.
New details in the case against the man arrested for last week’s bomb threat and bank robbery has surfaced, including a MidSouth Bank surveillance video showing the alleged suspect attempt an early-morning bank robbery.
Parents and teachers who support the Common Core education standards sued Gov. Bobby Jindal Tuesday over his actions against the multi-state standards, accusing him of illegally meddling in education policy.
An arrest was announced this morning in connection with last week’s bomb scare at UL Lafayette.
Attorneys, judges and others interviewed by LaPolitics expect 15 to 20 district judge races this year.
"I feel like I'm under siege," an attorney said recently over drinks at Galatoire's Bistro in Baton Rouge. "We all do. Every time I turn around somebody wants a check. District attorney races. The judges. They're killing us."
As a requirement for running for Congress in the 6th District, former Gov. Edwin Edwards has filed his financial disclosure statement with the U.S. House showing his income in 2013 totaling $242,787.
Unlike those swindled by Bernie Madoff, the victims of Texas businessman Robert Allen Stanford’s Ponzi scheme won’t be getting any relief from the Securities Investor Protection Corp.’s emergency fund after a recent appellate court ruling.
The legal challenge is part of a continuing struggle over Common Core, which has become controversial since the Board of Elementary and Secondary Education adopted the standards in 2010.
The lone Democrat to announce he's running for governor, state Rep. John Bel Edwards, criticized Republican Gov. Bobby Jindal's budgeting tactics as "running the state like a big Ponzi scheme."
State police have arrested a 42-year-old Kaplan man in the July 7 hit and run fatality crash that killed a bicyclist on Louisiana Highway 92 near Milton.
Republican U.S. Rep. Bill Cassidy has picked up support for his U.S. Senate campaign from a former GOP competitor.
Lisa Hargis Smith lived a mysterious life as seen with her death earlier this month and its impact on the community of those who knew her, whether as a star student in Lafayette High’s class of ‘69, or later as a woman struggling with homelessness and mental illness.
Attorney Valerie Gotch Garrett will announce on Tuesday that she plans to run for the Division E seat of the 15th Judicial District Court.
Back in 2012, three Baton Rouge attorneys came to the aid of several disgruntled police officers with a high-profile lawsuit against the Lafayette Police chief and a number of higher-ups in city-parish government, but in a federal courtroom Thursday, their claims of conspiracy coupled with a lack of evidence backfired and the case was dismissed.
Gov. Bobby Jindal's administration intends to rework how it pays the private managed care networks that provide health services to two-thirds of Louisiana's Medicaid patients.