That's because Democrats and Republicans have been working together for more than a year to advance energy policy reform. The current bill — the Energy Policy Modernization Act — was written by the Republican Chairwoman Lisa Murkowski and ranking Democrat Maria Cantwell, so even if the Senate were to flip to Democratic control, the Energy and Natural Resources Committee would likely push forward with the plan.
The bill acknowledges the shift toward renewable energy by requiring operators to upgrade the nation's electric grid and include more storage capacity to accommodate the growing amount of power generated by solar and wind sources. It would also build on energy efficiency programs for buildings.
Environmentalists won provisions like permanent authorization of the Land and Water Conservation Fund, while the energy industry would see the process for exporting natural gas streamlined.
The Senate is currently reviewing changes made to the bill in the House.
The best opportunity for this type of legislation to pass is under a Democratic White House with Republicans in control of the House and a narrowly Democratic Senate, said David Bernell, a political science professor at Oregon State University. In that scenario, all parties have to compromise, he noted.