WASHINGTON (NEXSTAR) — For the fourth time, Sen. Rob Portman is working to get Congress to pass a bill that he says would save energy and reduce carbon emissions while creating jobs.
“It improves the environment but also improves the economy. It’s the sweet spot,” Portman, R-Ohio, said of his bill at a Wednesday press conference.
His plan aims to drastically cut the amount of energy wasted in homes and businesses by giving home builders and contractors federal money to adopt energy-efficient technology.
“It would be the equivalent of taking 11 million cars of the roads,” Portman said.
It would also invest more money in workforce training programs and could ultimately help reduce people’s energy bills.
Polls show the majority of Americans say the environment should be a top priority for Congress and the president, but climate change can be a divisive issue on Capitol Hill. Portman says his plan could bring both parties together.
“Enormous potential here,” he said.
He’s already partnering with Sen. Jeanne Shaheen, D-N.H., to move the bill forward, and Sen. Joe Manchin, D-W.V., who serves on the Senate Energy Committee, said he’s on board, too.
“This is basically low-hanging fruit,” Manchin said. “If we can’t pass this, God help us on climate change.”
Sen. Tammy Duckworth of Illinois, a member of the Democrats’ climate crisis committee, is also backing the plan.
“Certainly anything that has to do with energy conservation, anything that has to do with greater efficiency is really right on the right path,” she said.
Portman has tried three times already to pass his bill, but he and Shaheen say that with new leadership in the House, this might be their year.
“We’re all on board to get this done in this session of Congress,” Shaheen said.