Ranking Member Johnson’s Statement from the Energy Bill Conference Committee Meeting
(Washington, DC) – Today, the conference committee of lawmakers selected to reconcile the House and Senate versions of major energy legislation, the Energy Policy Modernization Act of 2015, met for the first time. Ranking Member Eddie Bernice Johnson (D-TX) will be negotiating the portions of the legislation that fall under the Science, Space, and Technology Committee’s jurisdiction, primarily research, development, and demonstration activities carried out by the Department of Energy (DOE).
Ranking Member Johnson’s statement is below.
“Good morning. I would like to thank Chairman Murkowski and Ranking Member Cantwell for convening this meeting today. I appreciate the hard work that you and your staff have clearly put into trying to achieve a broad, bipartisan compromise that could provide a legislative foundation for the future of our nation’s energy policy for years to come. I know that it is no small accomplishment to achieve such an agreement in the Senate, and you are to be congratulated.
“Unfortunately, we were less successful in our efforts in the House, and the House bill under consideration at this Conference doesn’t have the same level of bipartisan support as its Senate counterpart. Regardless, I hope we all now recognize that the only way that we will be successful in producing the first comprehensive energy bill to make it to a President’s desk in nearly a decade is to set politics aside – yes, even in an election year – and work together to address these critical issues. Even that won’t guarantee that we will be able to get a conference report agreed to, but I can guarantee that we will fail if we let politics and ideology rule.
“I know that staff-level discussions have been underway on a number of provisions within the jurisdiction of the Science Committee, and I hope that we can continue to make progress on them in the Conference. The Senate has advanced sensible provisions for ARPA-E, vehicle technologies, energy storage, and related areas. And the House has advanced language that Committee Democrats support related to nuclear and fusion energy, research hubs and centers, and improving technology transfer from the labs to the marketplace. We should be able to achieve agreements on those sections of the conference if all parties are serious about seeking a constructive path forward.
“So there are clearly some provisions in my Committee’s jurisdiction that I expect to support but others that I continue to have concerns with in each of the House and Senate bills. However, I promise to be a constructive partner throughout this process, and I hope that we can all follow the example that our friends in the Senate have provided on how to strive for a bipartisan consensus.”