Wednesday, July 13, 2016

S 2012 Goes to Conference – Energy Authorization

It took a month and a half for the Senate to accomplish what everyone knew it would; yesterday the Senate rejected the House amendments to S 2012 and established a conference committee to deal with the differences between the two versions of the bill.

The cybersecurity provisions of the House and Senate versions should make it into the final bill. The most interesting thing to see will be which version of the ‘Critical electric infrastructure security’ {§1104 in the House passed version; §2001 in the Senate version} section of the bill will make it into the final bill. Likewise the House provision on the volatility of crude oil (§5009) should also make it into the final bill.

It is not clear how much work the Conference Committee will get done during the summer recess. For the most part the principals (the actual congresscritters) will be back in their districts raising money and glad handing the electorate. Some staff work will get done, but a conference is all about horse trading and deal making; that requires the active personal participation of the elected representatives.

If an appropriate compromise can be worked out that can allow the bill to be considered in the Senate, there is a chance that the bill could pass in the brief session between Labor Day and the election recess.

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