The View From Here
by Ric Jackson
March 7th, 2016

Where Do Your Senators Stand on Important Legislation?

For more than three years, I have been tracking and reporting on the Portman-Shaheen energy bill (now under Sen. Lisa Murkowski, R-Alaska) in its various forms. When the bill failed in a vote on February 4, I thought it was dead in the water – at least until the next Congress. But, once again, there might be a glimmer of hope for the Bill that Has Nine Lives. That is, if we can do our part in convincing our senators that it’s worthwhile.

For a little background, the February 4 bill wound up with the Flint Water Project amendment attached to it. Unfortunately, it’s not the first time this bill was paired with a controversial topic, leading to its demise. Like I usually do after an important vote like this, I dug in to see who voted yea or nay. Not surprisingly, the vote was split along party lines, with most Democrats voting nay and Republicans yea.

Then, a few weeks after the bill failed, I headed to Washington to meet personally with Democratic senators in the states Quanex operates to understand 1) where they stood on the bill; and 2) why they voted it down.

I was not surprised by their responses. They all supported the core bill, but the amendments that were added caused them to turn down the entire bill. Specifically, the split came down to giving Flint a grant or a low-interest loan.

The positive is that there might still be a chance to pass S.2012 as it’s expected to be reintroduced without the Flint Funding amendment before summer recesses.

What can you do to help? Take the time to see how your senators voted on the bill here. It’s not too late for you to write or call your senators and tell them you want them to support the S.2012 Energy Policy Modernization Act when it returns to the Senate floor.

Read more on the history and merits of the Energy Policy Modernization Act.

What’s your View? Email me directly at

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