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.
City-Parish President Joey Durel is asking the council to sign off on a resolution approving a pair of deals that would lead to razing the seedy Lesspay Motel at Four Corners to build a new police substation as well as transforming nearly a block Downtown where the old federal courthouse building now molders into a mixed-use development.
In 2013, the IRS — already the least popular governmental agency in the country — became the target of intense investigations after it was revealed that they had specifically and improperly scrutinized applications for tax-exempt status from organizations associated with the nascent Tea Party movement.
Improving the running game was "a point of emphasis" during the offseason and the results have manifested themselves in the form of substantially greater production.
Louisiana's health department said Wednesday that its evaluation of the state's Medicaid privatization was on target, despite criticism from the legislative auditor that it lacked key data and contained inconsistencies.
Artificial sweeteners eyed; Scottish independence vote begins; Ford has cancer and more national and international news for Thursday, September 18, 2014.
Thursday's Blogs from the Bog!
The feds converge on your office, seizing records on several employees as part of a pay-for-plea investigation. WWYD? If you’re Mike Harson, you give yourself a $12k raise.
It’s football season and after back-to-back winless weekends for the Saints and the Cajuns many citizens are finding it difficult to be civil much less happy. Well, chew on this.
Considering his repeated stays in the local penal system, David Narcisse Jr. should have known that having a semiautomatic shotgun, even one given to him by a friend, wasn’t the brightest of ideas.
A state district judge on Tuesday threw out a last-minute retirement hike lawmakers gave to the state police superintendent, ending a political firestorm over a pension boost passed without public scrutiny on the last day of the legislative session.
The House has passed a bill to increase oversight of veterans' hospitals under construction, following a report that some medical centers take three years longer to complete than estimated and cost an extra $366 million per project.
An obvious follow-up question for any Republican politician who accuses Democrats of being science deniers is one about science, to which Jindal bobbed and weaved like a welterweight champ.
The Lafayette City-Parish Council is expected to decide tonight (Tuesday) whether to go along with a proposal City-Parish President Joey Durel made in February’s State of the Parish Address and consolidate taxes for mosquito control and the parish health units into a broader tax program that would also cover animal control.
U.S. District Judge Richard Haik has dismissed Greg Davis’ lawsuit against the LPSB, yet in his ruling, the federal judge doesn’t bite his tongue in pointing out the "threat" being posed by certain board members.
Of all the political offices being contested throughout Lafayette Parish, the race for Broussard’s top police post has literally become one of the most heated.
A state district judge is deciding whether to issue an injunction against the enforcement of a last-minute retirement hike that lawmakers gave to the state police superintendent.
A new website is up for Louisiana's state government employees and retirees to choose their health insurance plans for next year, a choice they must make by October.
That fact that New Orleans led both games in the final 10 seconds of regulation, and lost each by a field goal or less, is of little solace.
The superintendent will make another go at getting a budget passed for the already commenced fiscal year as the LPSB is slated to meet tonight on the eve of the state’s budget adoption deadline.
A person familiar with the situation says New Orleans Saints running back Mark Ingram has a broken hand.
It seeks an investigation into a $100,000 fund transfer from Vitter's federal campaign account to an independent PAC supporting Vitter's 2015 candidacy for governor.
Landrieu has acknowledged that she improperly billed her Senate office for nearly $43,000 in charter costs that should have been paid from her campaign account.
House District 45 Rep. Joel Robideaux is term-limited and running for city-parish president next year, leaving his seat up for grabs come 2015 and at least three likely contenders so far, including ...
When the Browns explained their plans to Brian Hoyer about bringing rookie Johnny Manziel into the game, Cleveland's starting quarterback bit his lip and devised one of his own.
National debate over solitary confinement puts spotlight on Angola inmate’s 35 years in ‘the hole’